A review of Clare Jay's Breathing in Colour

Breathing in Colour Breathing in Colour by Clare Jay


My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

Clare Jay’s Breathing in Colour ( Piatkus, Little, Brown Book Group, March 2009) weaves together threads from many disparate areas of life – dreams, travels, the creative mind, family dynamics, memory, and relationships between men and women. The story, which takes place in the UK and India, blends the characters’ dreams into the narrative with seamless artistry, no easy task (which I know from my own experience of including dream imagery in my writing).

Throughout the course of the novel the reader learns about synaesthesia, a condition in which a person perceives sounds or smells as colors, or numbers and certain letters of the alphabet as colors. Both the mother and the daughter in the novel are synaesthetes, and Clare Jay does a superb job describing how the two characters view the world. Jay is not a synaesthete herself, yet she illustrates their world with vivid accuracy, allowing the reader to glimpse what it might be like to have such ultra heightened senses.

I met Clare Jay two years ago at a conference for the International Association for the Study of Dreams, where she told me about the novel she was then writing, her lucid dreams (knowing one is dreaming while in the dream state), and her technique for inducing the writer’s trance, which involves yogic relaxation (she is also a yoga instructor) and the recall of dream imagery. I still remember the character I came up with after attending one of Clare Jay’s workshops involving dreams and creative writing. It was a panther woman who sat at the end of my bed. In fact, I’ve written a poem about the panther woman – she holds a special place in my pantheon of fictional characters.

The characters in Breathing in Colour, both the dream man and the ones who walk the earth, are alive with color, smells, texture, and nuance. They are more than three dimensional because of Jay’s bright, sensitive use of language. It’s like going on a magic carpet ride.

Be sure to visit Clare Jay’s beautiful website and blog, where she has information about her next book, Dreamrunner.

View all my reviews.

5 thoughts on “A review of Clare Jay's Breathing in Colour

  1. Clare says:

    I’m intrigued by this panther woman. Who is she, where does she go and how far can she leap? Where can we find out more about this gorgeous animal energy, Christine?

    xx

    Like

  2. Julie says:

    Awesome! This is right up my alley. The book sounds amazing, and your review is great. I’m adding it to my list of books I’m begging my library to buy for me:)

    I keep telling people about my ordering struggles lately not because I want them to feel sorry for me or give me money (ha), but because library requests are a great tip for reading if you have been hit by the recession. Many libraries are underfunded, too, but the ones I know will still order a lot of requested books. When things are better, my library is getting a donation from me for sure!

    Breathing in Colour sounds fascinating. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for the information.

    Like

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