Wednesday 18 September 2019

Review ~ The Colour of Things Unseen by Annee Lawrence

Aurora Metro

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

When Adi leaves his village in Indonesia to take up an art scholarship in Australia, he arrives in the bewildering Sydney art world, determined to succeed. Following his first solo exhibition at a smart art gallery, Adi dares to reveal his true feelings for his outgoing friend, Lisa, and a passionate relationship unfolds. But will their differing expectations of one another drive them apart?

This is a deeply felt love story between people — of different nations, cultures and religions – and the unseen impact of local and global events on individual lives.

My thoughts about it..

Adi lives in a small village in Idonesia and his life is not without tragedy but fortune favours the brave and Adi finds that his life is about to change when he is given the opportunity to study art, a subject he has an affinity with and undoubted skill.  Adi's love of art takes him far away from his home village and when he reaches Australia he finds a very different sort of world with a morality which takes some getting used too, especially, when it comes to painting nude life models in art classes.

The story of Things Unseen is the story of Adi's time in Australia and of the adjustments he must make in order to fit in with a culture with is completely alien to him, but then, he discovers the power of friendship, and no friendship comes greater than that of Marj, his landlady, who becomes a second mother to him. Throughout his considerable time in Australia, it seems that Adi is always trying to fit in,  and his relationship with his girlfriend Lisa is fraught with troubles.

I've found much to enjoy, in the way the author allows the story to evolve slowly so that it becomes so much more than Adi's life story, and whilst its focus is about about love, relationships and family, it's also about trying to belong in a place where you feel out of step with those around you.

The story of Things Unseen is an interesting first novel and I am sure that the author has more stories to tell, and will continue to go from strength to strength.

Annee lives in Australia and has an interest in exploring cross-cultural connection and the way identity shape-shifts in an unfamiliar place and culture. She has close friendship and family ties in Indonesia and was the recipient of an Asialink Arts’ inaugural Tulis Australian-Indonesian Writing Exchange in 2018. As a result, she had a six-week residency at Kommunitas Salihara in Jakarta and was invited to the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.

Prior to becoming a tutor in literary and cultural studies at Western Sydney University in 2014, Annee worked as a writer, editor and community development worker in the areas of women’s health, human rights and social justice. Two of her publications include: I Always Wanted To Be A Tap Dancer: Women With Disabilities and (with Nola Colefax on her memoir) Signs of Change: My Autobiography and History of Australian Theatre of the Deaf 1973–1983. In 1981 she was founding editor of Healthright: A Journal of Women’s Health, Family Planning and Sexuality.
Annee has published articles in New Writing, Griffith Review, Hecate and Cultural Studies Review.

The Colour of Things Unseen is the author's debut novel.

Twitter @AuroraMetro

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