Hachette Book Group (AU)
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The Astonishing Colour of After Kindle Edition
A New York Times bestseller.
'This brilliantly crafted novel portrays the vast spectrum of love and grief with heart-wrenching beauty and candor. A very special book' - JOHN GREEN, author of The Fault in Our Stars
Life, loss, love and art explode in a kaleidoscope of emotions as one girl must learn the truth about her family's past in order to bring peace to the present. For fans of John Green, Jennifer Niven, Jandy Nelson and Nicola Yoon.
Leigh Chen Sanders is sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving only a scribbled note: 'I want you to remember'. Leigh doesn't know what it means, but when a red bird appears with a message, she finds herself travelling to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time.
Leigh is far away from home and far away from Axel, her best friend, who she stupidly kissed on the night her mother died - leaving her with a swell of guilt that she wasn't home, and a heavy heart, thinking she may have destroyed the one good thing left in her life.
Overwhelmed by grief, Leigh retreats into her art and into her memories, where colours collide and the rules of reality are broken. The only thing Leigh is certain about is that she must find out the truth. She must remember.
With lyrical prose and magical elements, Emily X.R. Pan's stunning debut novel alternates between past and present, romance and despair, as one girl attempts to find herself through family history, art, friendship, and love.
From the Publisher
About the Author
- ASIN : B075WWCVCS
- Publisher : Orion Children's Books; 1st edition (22 March 2018)
- Language : English
- File size : 1409 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 480 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 22,125 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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The Astonishing Colour of After is such a great debut novel for Emily. It touches on some really hard subjects like suicide and depression and delves into how depression touches everyone in different ways no matter how their life is. Leigh's mother despite having a love for her work and family always struggled underneath it all.
The symbolism and magic in this book takes us through a journey of how the family, especially Leigh copes with the absence of her mother while she struggles to overcome the emptiness she is now feeling and the denial to let her mother go.
This book focuses a lot on the dynamics of family and loved ones and how talking to one another really can help to overcome the darkness that can take over.
Ghosts and memories play a big part of how Leigh recovers and starts to understand how to move on and let go. The different chapters are a really interesting way to mix everything in without seeming too choppy, they switch between Leigh's own memories, memories from her family and modern day. Each different chapter has a different symbol and heading to let you know what is going to happen next.
Top reviews from other countries
The spirit of Leigh’s mother soon appears as a large red bird and speaks to her, but she becomes rather elusive. She had left a scribbled note telling Leigh, “I want you to remember.”
Leigh has never met her Taiwanese grandparents. Her Dad takes her to Taiwan. He soon falls out with his in-laws and leaves. Leigh speaks very little Mandarin or Taiwanese but manages to communicate with her Waigong (grandfather) and loving Waipo (grandmother). A family friend, Feng, appears on the scene and helps Leigh to understand the culture and the cuisine and the language and the implications of Ghost Month. Feng shows her around her mother’s childhood haunts.
The clock is ticking. The spirit lives in limbo for only forty-nine days before moving on into the next life. The red bird form of Leigh’s mother will only be around for so long.
Reincarnation becomes a big part of the story. Early on, Leigh recalls, “When I was little, I used to ask how they met, and they would just say they’d known each other since the beginning of time, for hundreds of lives.”
Interestingly, Leigh is a synesthete. Sights and sounds and scents and textures all invoke colour. However, I think that the author makes too much of this. Annoyingly, Alex keeps asking her, “What colour?” The narrative could have made these feeling more natural and less forced. It becomes tedious.
I love the way that the emotions and feelings and curiosity and spiritual awareness of the young lady are tracked through the book. I like the exploration of the Taiwanese culture.
The Astonishing Colour of After is an enjoyable and very thought-provoking read. There is so much in this book that I loved, perhaps a little bit too much. Have you ever been to a restaurant and ordered a dish which has had so many good things on the plate that it becomes a bit over-whelming? This book is a bit like that. It gets a bit tedious at times, but I thoroughly recommend it.
It is this premise that The Astonishing Colour of After follows. Our protagonist, Leigh, is dealing with the death of her mother. Suffering with depression, Leigh’s mum took her own life and Leigh embarks on a journey to find out about her past on her mother’s side. It is a journey that takes her to the other side of the world, to a family she has never met before to figure out just who her mum was.
The Astonishing Colour of After is an interesting story, one that is both uplifting and devastating at the same time.
Content Warnings: descriptions & discussions of suicide & long-term depression.