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The Colour
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on 12 March 2016
Bleak, unforgiving, tragic. The setting is so beautifully described and the characters so real. The love affair in the latter part of the story is reminiscent of D. H. Lawrence in its obsessive nature, but Rose Tremain handles it more subtly - magical. A wonderful adventure and an emotional roller coaster.
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on 20 October 2013
This must be one of the grimmest novels I have ever read, yet it is also one of the most satisfying. It is not an easy read - events and circumstances are tough, there are disasters and catastrophes that hit the main characters relentlessly, with little let up. Very little happens to them (or for that matter, the minor characters) that is good. None the less, I could not put it down - the writing is superb, the descriptive passages a delight, and the understanding of their personalities and motivations beautifully conveyed. I cannot recommend this more highly as a book to engage in, immerse oneself in, and wonder at.
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on 19 November 2011
I've read and enjoyed quite a number of Rose Tremain books to date, but this is the one that always sticks best in my mind. Perhaps it's because I know a small amount of New Zealand and the story of those early settlers and the gold rush has always fascinated me that adds that extra bit, but it is far far more than that. It is a book that grabs you and carries you along with it, and there is no detail lacking along the way, so that the scenes stand up and are real in your mind. It really is compulsive reading, and I don't say that of many books. I honour the amount of research that must have been put into writing the book, but more than that, I am humbled by the way Rose Tremain so effortlessly (apparently!) and enticingly can tell a story. She is the sticky toffee pudding of the literary world!
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on 27 September 2014
This is the second time I have read The Colour, after touring New Zealand's south island. Christchurch to Greymouth, now a straightforward, though still at times hair-raising drive across Arthur's Pass. Down the west coast as far as Franz Josef glacier and Mount Cook. North to Picton and Nelson. On my second reading the experiences of Joseph and Harriet, the gold mining, the pioneering life style, came alive. A great read!
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on 31 December 2012
Well drawn characters and an amazing sense of both time and place. You really wanted each of the individuals to succeed in their various quests, even feeling some sympathy for the unpleasant husband.

Again, a reading group choice and well loved by one and all. Everyone found something particular to draw on when it came to discussing it and everyone had seen little nuggets that might have been missed by others. A fabulous book and one I will probably read again. Indeed, this was the second reading for me.
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on 22 October 2013
It introduced the subject of gold-mining in New Zealand and I found the complex characters involved very well illustrated. The most significant characters were Jospeh Blackstone, his wife Harriet and the Chinaman Pao Yi. There were other characters who contributed to the whole and which gave the novel appropriate balance. Although the story developed at pace there were several aspects that were only partially revealed and challenged the reader to form his own opinions (sometimes incorrectly.) I am not sure that the character of Pare and her dreamlike qualities enhanced the story although they do seem to be appropriate to a woman of Maori origin. It must be said that she helped to counter-balance the darkness of the novel and contrasted powerfully with the character of Jospeh Blackstone. There were certain elements of the story which readers may find offensive but they were not out of place when the background of the characters involved were taken into account. I found the whole story quite absorbing and would recommend it to others (although not of a delicate disposition.)
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on 28 December 2015
Yet another Rose Tremain novel that explores an unknown history -this time the gold rush in New Zealand and the awfulness of the prospectors' compulsion to undergo all hardships to extract gold from the land thousands of miles from home.. Brilliant and moving.
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on 19 April 2018
Good service and excellent read having just returned from New Zealand
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on 27 March 2018
Interesting story but lacked cohesion for me.
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on 13 May 2014
I read this book several years ago, before we visited goldmining places like Arrowtown, Skippers and Macetown in NZ: I was overwhelmed at how accurate Rose Tremain`s description of life then was - apart from the fact that it was a brilliant story. I gave the book to a Kiwi friend , but have now bought it again to keep and reread at some point.
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