New edition of Man Booker Prize shortlisted debut: 80,000 copies of previous Tindal Street Press edition sold since 2003
Astonishing Splashes of Colour was Clare Morrall.s enormously successful Man Booker Prize-shortlisted debut. A music teacher with two adult children, she lives and works in Birmingham. Clare Morall.s fourth novel, The Man Who Disappeared, was published in February 2010 by Sceptre and chosen for Channel 4.s TV Book Club.
In Morrall's debut novel, the first-person narrator, Katherine Wellington, is at the edge of sanity because of a miscarriage three years ago and the presumed death of her mother when she was three. As Katherine searches for a surrogate child and information about her mother, each episode, ironically, increases her sense of loss. When the truth about Katheroziine's mother is revealed, Morrall has prepared readers for it so well that we are not surprised. Although the situation sounds like a soap opera, Morrall's sympathetic and complex narrator and her artist father and five brothers avoid sentimentality. The title describes Peter Pan's Neverland, and the theme of people lost in childhood and unable to grow up is developed through the narrator, her husband, and a runaway girl she takes up with. Allusions to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland contribute to the theme. This finely constructed novel, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize, should please readers of both popular and literary fiction. Recommended for all libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/04.]-Elaine Bender, El Camino Coll., Torrance, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"An extremely good first novel: deceptively simple, subtly observed. Moving through Kitty's mental landscape feels like snorkeling through a coral reef."
Like Booker-winner Monica Ali, British newcomer and Booker finalist Morrall creates an alienated yet immensely appealing heroine. But unlike Ali's protagonist, Kitty Wellington is at home in Britain's culture; it's her spectacularly dysfunctional family and a personal tragedy that bring her grief. Dangerously unstable after a miscarriage and her resulting inability to conceive again, Kitty sees other people and her environment in auras of color. A device brilliantly effective at times, this serves to establish Kitty's febrile, fantastical imagination. For three years, Kitty has lived in a flat next door to her loving, ineffectual husband, whose own problems (a limp; an obsession with order; a fear of unfamiliar places) render him similarly incapable of dealing with the world. But Morrall gradually reveals the real cause of Kitty's anguish: her lack of identity. Brought up helter-skelter by her irascible, eccentric artist father and four older brothers, Kitty has no memory of her mother, who died when she was three. Even in her most depressed moments, however, Kitty has wit and intelligence, even as her childlike impulsiveness and failure to foresee the consequences of her acts lead her to initiate a double kidnapping. Morrall artfully reveals the true story of Kitty's family in a suspenseful plot that unfolds like layers of an onion, meanwhile providing a convincing portrait of a woman striving for emotional survival. Agent, Laura Longrigg. (Oct. 1) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.