By Lisa Barr
Arcade, $24.95, 379 pages
Fugitive Colors follows the character Julian, as he breaks away from his stifling Jewish heritage to follow the artistic passion he was born with. Julian finds himself in Paris and meets a cluster of like-minded painters, unknowingly falling into the middle of a very passionate rivalry. Julian takes an opportunity to study with a famous painter and ends up in Berlin during the rise of the Nazi party, an incredibly dangerous place for a Jew, and an expressionist painter to be. Julian faces betrayal upon betrayal as he and his friend René begin a desperate struggle for survival, both for themselves, and the very soul of their art.
“‘Painting,’ René explained in a way that reminded Julian of Engel, ‘is how you use your mind before you land a single stroke. It doesn’t matter that they forbid you to paint. They can control everything, Julian, but not your thoughts. Never forget that.'”
Lisa Barr’s well crafted novel is nearly impossible to put down. The passion and pain the characters experience is beautifully evident and practically sings from the pages. Graphic and disturbing in places, Fugitive Colors is a book about love, friendship, jealousy, betrayal, and the things that give people a passion for life. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, this book is haunting, and will stick with the reader for some time.
Reviewed by Whitney Smyth