Inspired by the lost voices of the Romany Holocaust, this heartbreaking and tender novel will appeal to readers who loved Sophie's Choice, Schindler's Ark, and The Book Thief. "Remarkable - brave, big-hearted and beautifully written" (Andrew Miller, author of the Costa Award-winner PURE)
Austria, 1944. Jakob, a gypsy boy - half Roma, half Yenish - runs, as he has been told to do. With shoes of sackcloth, still stained with another's blood, a stone clutched in one hand, a small wooden box in the other. He runs blindly, full of fear, empty of hope. For hope lies behind him in a green field with a tree that stands shaped like a Y.
He knows how to read the land, the sky. When to seek shelter, when not. He has grown up directing himself with the wind and the shadows. They are familiar to him. It is the loneliness that is not. He has never, until this time, been so alone.
"Don't be afraid, Jakob," his father has told him, his voice weak and wavering. "See the colours, my boy," he has whispered. So he does. Rusted ochre from a mossy bough. Steely white from the sap of the youngest tree. On and on Jakob runs.
Spanning from one world war to another, taking us across England, Switzerland and Austria, Jakob's Colours is about the painful legacies passed down from one generation to another, finding hope where there is no hope and colour where there is no colour.
"I thought it was a remarkable book - brave, big-hearted, and beautifully written. Harrowing too, of course, at times almost unbearably so, but Lindsay Hawdon meets the material with such honesty and courage we, as readers, can stay with it without feeling crushed by it. It's a first novel that clearly announces the arrival of a very talented writer." (Andrew Miller)
"A haunting book, dealing with a little-known part of history, told in luminous and poetic prose." (Rebecca Mascull, author of The Visitors)
"Wonderfully written - the descriptions, the fractured timeline, the colours bleed off the page and into your soul. This is not just a great book, but a very important one." (Marina Fiorato, best-selling author of The Glassblower of Murano)
"A compassionate, hopeful heart beats strongly throughout this vivid work of poetic imagination as Jakob's Colours journeys across time and space to illuminate a long neglected chapter in the wider tragedy of European history." (Lindsay Clarke, author of The Chymical Wedding)
"A heartbreaking love story.... Writing with passion and poetry, Lindsay Hawdon brings astonishing colour and life to an episode of unremitting darkness and despair. I honestly believe it stands comparison with D.M. Thomas's classic The White Hotel." (Rory Clements, author of the best-selling John Shakespeare Tudor spy thriller series)
"An impressive, heartfelt debut - a book about the power of stories to sustain us and drive us forward. It reminded me of Patrick Süskind's Perfume, but with colours in place of scents...." (Aly Monroe, author of the Ellis Peters Award-winner Icelight)
"Jakob's Colours reduced me to tears. I loved its hypnotic, rhapsodic quality and can't shake it from my mind." (Sarah Vaughan, author of The Art of Baking Blind)
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Jacob'a Colours, will move you as much as Sophie's Choice and Schindler's List
- James Muirhead
Beautifully visually and interwoven