Friday, July 25, 2008

There is such a thing as too much travel...

Apparently there is such a thing as too much travel. I have been on the road or hosting visitors on and off since mid-May. That's pretty much two solid months of travel and such. Right now I'm in Boston on a research trip. Now, to be fair, I love Boston. I grew up in it's suburbs, so it's my "home city." I love the architecture, I love the shopping, I love the libraries and colleges, and I even love the accent. Whenever I'm in Boston I feel a certain energy that I don't feel anywhere else. Usually, there are few other places I want to be. I appreciate Boston even more now that I have spent the past ten years living in other places-- places much more rural, and places with vastly different cultures, weather, and local quirks. All of that said, and as much as I love it here, right now what I really want is to be back in my house in Washington, with my bed, my books, my furniture, and my normal day-to-day life. I have, after all, traveled to Boston three times in the past two months, for a family function, a conference, and now a research trip. I'm feeling a bit disconnected.

So, today I'll be reviewing a book that deals heavily with themes of disconnection, Clare Morrall's Astonishing Splashes of Colour.

This book tells the story of a woman on the verge of nervous breakdown, precipitated by a recent miscarriage that has left her unable to have children. The main character, Kitty, proceeds to do all sorts of irresponsible things, and it quickly becomes evident that her life is hurtling towards tragedy at warp speed. In the background of all of this is Kitty's disintegrating career, an unusually distant relationship with her husband, and an unusual ability to see and feel colors with great intensity. While I found the book interesting, Kitty was not an entirely sympathetic character. All too frequently, all the reader can do is cringe at Kitty's activities, as they are so obviously misguided, and she is so clearly in need of help. It's difficult to discuss the plot in more detail, as it would definitely give away too much that the reader will want to discover while working through the book. This book presents an imaginative plot, and was an enjoyable read, in spite of the issues raised above.

Clare Morrall, Astonishing Splashes of Colour (Harper Perennial, 2005) ISBN: 0060734469

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