Guest Editor Natalie Green, Colourful Words
â€˜Your child is missing â€“ presumed dead.\’
Hours after receiving the dreaded phone call, Alida Salter flies to India to search for her backpacker daughter. The discovery of disturbing collages in Mia\’s hotel makes Alida suspect a connection between the disaster which fractured their relationship 13 years ago, and Mia\’s recent, mysterious disappearance.
Somehow, Clare Jay is able to convey the inherent and stomach-churning fears for a child\’s safety that most parents try their best to suppress. Alida is squarely faced with hers and the story describes her determination to go on as she slogs through the nightmare of a missing daughter without dismissing or under-stating her turmoil.
Breathing in Colour is only 277 pages long so the search for Mia ticks along at a steady pace. While not intensely gripping, the plot is nicely peppered with twists, turns and a bit of sexual tension that add to the intrigue of the situation. It is also padded with exploration of themes such as imagination, dreams, grief and identity.
With India as the backdrop, the author has added an extra palette of colour to the tale (in fact, I suspect the setting will be an added bonus for any reader that already knows and loves the country and will ensure India is added to the Must See Destinations lists of many others).
Breathing in Colour is enriched because Alida\’s daughter has a sensory condition called synthaesthesia and the reader is privy to the special way she perceives the world. For example, Mia can smell warm vanilla custard whenever her mother is near, she sees green waves when a violin is played, and in times of trouble, Mia feels and tastes ashes falling from the sky. Rather than a bunch of tripped-out mumbo jumbo, Mia\’s multi-sensory experience of everyday life is delicious, magical and even enviable.
But don\’t just take my word for it.
Available now: Hachette RRP$22.99