The Colour

Newlyweds Joseph and Harriet Blackstone emigrate from England to New Zealand, along with Joseph s mother Lilian, in search of new beginnings and prosperity, but the harsh land near Christchurch where they settle threatens to destroy them almost before they begin When Joseph finds gold in a creek bed, he hides the discovery from both his wife and mother and becomes obsesseNewlyweds Joseph and Harriet Blackstone emigrate from England to New Zealand, along with Joseph s mother Lilian, in search of new beginnings and prosperity, but the harsh land near Christchurch where they settle threatens to destroy them almost before they begin When Joseph finds gold in a creek bed, he hides the discovery from both his wife and mother and becomes obsessed with the riches awaiting him deep in the earth Abandoning his farm and family, he sets off alone for the new goldfields over the Southern Alps, a moral wilderness where many others, under the seductive dreams of the colour, rush to their destinies and doom.
The Colour Newlyweds Joseph and Harriet Blackstone emigrate from England to New Zealand along with Joseph s mother Lilian in search of new beginnings and prosperity but the harsh land near Christchurch where

  • Title: The Colour
  • Author: Rose Tremain
  • ISBN: 9780312423100
  • Page: 346
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “The Colour”

    1. Despite being a historical novel set in Victorian New Zealand at the time of the 19th century gold rush it has, even more than Music and Silence or Restoration a dreamlike atmosphere.The book has a syrupy pace, any one moment full and rich but in no hurry to get to the next and a persistent strangeness - in a word, dreamlike. Summed up by the central image of the cob house - inexpertly constructed by the novel's central male character as a couple's 'starter home'. A couple from England have migr [...]

    2. Having finished this book, I have decided to rewrite the review. Here is what I like about this writer and this novel:First of all I am impressed with the author's ability to create this story from nothing. The story seems so real, the people seem real. Out of nothing she has created a world that has never existed. I usually find non-fiction better than fiction. Fiction never feels genuine, but this novel does.What I like most about this book is the way the author has an idea and then says it wi [...]

    3. 4.5 starsThe Colour is set in 1860s New Zealand, a time of mad rushing for gold as well as nation-building fueled by heavy immigration. Newlyweds Joseph and Harriet Blackstone arrive from England with Joseph's widowed mother Lillian in tow. Joseph acquires some land, builds a temporary house, and they begin the work of establishing a farm. But Joseph is distracted by gold fever after finding some of "the colour," and he is haunted by memories of the heinous act that led to his flight from Englan [...]

    4. Gold RushRush, don't walk or even run, to buy this book! In this magnificent novel of the New Zealand gold rush of the 1860s, epic in scope but intimate in texture, Rose Tremain shows a power that her most recent book, The Road Home, only hints at, although her central concern of humanity triumphing through struggle remains the same."The colour" is the miners' term for that gleam of gold that may—or may not—indicate the presence of a seam. It is a madness, a seduction that seldom brings sati [...]

    5. I think I'll be happy reading anything Tremain writes. This had me in New Zealand in the 1850s and the gold rush. Joseph Blackstone has a past which is revealed to us in bits over the course of 300 plus pages. Harriet (Salt) Blackstone has a simple past of having been a governess which she so desperately wanted to put behind her that she willingly entered a loveless marriage. Together, they have left England behind to farm in the New World.There is a good plot here which doesn't get in the way o [...]

    6. This is a story of the New Zealand Gold Rush of the 1860's. The three main characters are intensely realized to their very thought patterns and perceptions. And not only to their goals of happiness, but to how they view the new world and the old.Having read about 8 books set in Australia and N.Z. this year, I went back to this older Rose Tremain and was deliciously served. Good read, and also intense read- with mystical aspects in the plot of the child Edwin and his nurse maid. It's sad but comp [...]

    7. Description: Newlyweds Joseph and Harriet Blackstone emigrate from England to New Zealand, along with Joseph's mother Lilian, in search of new beginnings and prosperity, but the harsh land near Christchurch where they settle threatens to destroy them almost before they begin. When Joseph finds gold in a creek bed, he hides the discovery from both his wife and mother and becomes obsessed with the riches awaiting him deep in the earth. Abandoning his farm and family, he sets off alone for the new [...]

    8. Ugh! This was one of those books that had a good beginning, about 70 pages or so, and then went tremendously downhill.The novel follows a husband and wife who have decided to start anew in New Zealand in the mid-nineteenth century only to be thwarted at every turn and estranged. Blah blah blah.So if that WAS the story it might have been an ok read. The writing was nothing impressive, but the initial renderings of the characters was well done.And then the author sort of goes beserk. She adds a da [...]

    9. I recently became curious about Rose Tremain when she featured in a "Good Fiction Guide: 4000 Great Books to Read" and I realised I only knew about her, never actually read anything by her. So I picked up The Colour, published in 2003 already, from my book club. I now see in the reviews that the book is considered "distinctly different" from other Tremain books. My original object thus defeated.But what a treat it was!"Deliberate, forthright, careful and cool, it ranges across a riot of interior [...]

    10. I'm one of those very superficial people for whom the setting of a novel is critical. I don't like, or am bored by, the country/city/region where the characters are flung, I don't read the book. I even have prejudices against whole eras. Take the Upper South in the twentieth century. Please.So it was with incredulity that I found myself reading with snowballing fascination and joy 'The Colour.' It's set in New Zealand in gold rush times---a seeming nonstarter for me, to put it mildly. And yet. A [...]

    11. “He stood without moving, waiting for the sun to come out again. It returned and sparkled on the water, dazzling him. He had to close his eyes for a second, and when he opened them again, he’d forgotten the precise spot where the colour had revealed itself. Then he saw it once more, a minute patch of shining yellow dust.”In the year 1864, Joseph Blackstone, his new wife Harriet and his mother Lillian staked a claim in southern New Zealand, in the hopes of building a farm and a new life. Th [...]

    12. A mismatched couple marry, and then travel from their native England to New Zealand to seek a new life, and escape their pasts, but when the husband finds a tiny amount of gold in a stream near the plot of land from which they are trying to scratch a living, it sets off an inescapable chain of events.This was a great story, with, for me, unforgetable characters to which the author gave a lot of depth.She describes the landscapes of New Zealand beautifully, and slowly unfolds the stories of the v [...]

    13. This was a mostly sad and sobering story. The writing was well done, but the storyline itself was rather depressing - life in New Zealand in the 1800s was difficult - for men and especially for women. Life was tough, love was rare, hope was deceptive, pleasure was taken in whatever form offered.I quite liked aspects of it, but I took off half a star for its utter bleakness, so 2.5★I’m undecided as to whether I would read more of Rose Tremain’s works or not - they do seem to have a similar [...]

    14. I'm a hairy, knuckle-dragging bloke with a wild beard and a dad body. This book made me gasp aloud and clutch for my (non-existant) pearls. I finally found a scandalous novel to love. I get it now.

    15. Strong women may not usually capture the centre of attention in a wild west survival story - it's a men's world after all. Yet, Harriet deserves her spotlight! Set against the background of New Zealand's gold rush in the 1860s, Rose Tremain has crafted a memorable, vividly coloured historical drama, that revolves around immigrants Joseph Blackstone and his new wife, Harriet. New Zealand's spectacular landscapes and the country's havoc creating extreme weather vagaries, powerfully evoked througho [...]

    16. This is a story of hope. It starts with an English family immigrating to New Zealand: Joseph, a livestock auctioneer son, Lillian, his singing-loving mother, and Harriet, his new wife, arrive in Christchurch (on NZ South Island) and buy land with the dream of a developing a prosperous farm. You would expect the small group, confronted with the challenge of rebuilding a new life in an unknown country, would stick together, but it is not so. Joseph is hunted by the memory of a past love, obsessed [...]

    17. When I first picked up "The Colour", I didn't know what to expect. I had only read one of Rose Tremain's short stories, I knew virtually nothing about New Zealand apart from what little I'd heard in the news, and I certainly did not understand the Gold Rush at all. In fact, I never knew there was one in New Zealand, too. What first impressed me was the storybuilding. We get to know Joseph, his mother Lilian and his wife Harriet, who have come to New Zealand from England to start again. They seem [...]

    18. The saving grace of historical fiction is that thanks to the subject matter it is almost always interesting, despite the frequent lack of any literary merit.It would be an unfair exaggeration to say that The Colour lacks any literary merit, but it wasn't great, to tell the truth. The plot was interesting enough: a Joseph Blackstone takes his wife, Harriet and mother, Lilian, to New Zealand at the time of the Gold Rush to start a new life. However, their small world of cows, trees and gardening c [...]

    19. I read this book some years ago and I didn't think it was especially good. I was annoyed about some descriptions I thought were inaccurate and I wondered at the confidence of someone coming to New Zealand briefly and then writing an historical novel about a less well known history ie the Hokitika Gold Rush. So when I re-read it I checked all the things I thought were wrong - beech trees on the Canterbury Plains, termite mounds in the bush, titoki trees in Canterbury, gold found in North Canterbu [...]

    20. This is the second time I've read this and it was just as good. Perhaps having seen the Rings film I have a greater appreciation of the mountains and the New Zealand terrain. I think this novel is about obsession and loss, men and women and coping with adversity. Maori culture roots the novel in New Zealand rather than anywhere else that experienced gold rushes. Some parts just made me want to cry even though I had no time for the main man. I had forgotten why he was running and when the revelat [...]

    21. The Colour is a well-written, engaging work of historical fiction, set in 1860's New Zealand. It reminded me of Allende's Daughter of Fortune and Smiley's The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, which are set around the same time period (although in different parts of the world) and have some similar characters and situations, but without being so similar as to feel derivative. Like those books, it also has some plotting issues, but is good enough to be worth a read anyway.Newlyweds [...]

    22. Little is known outside the South Pacific of New Zealand's mid-19th century gold rush that brought thousands of hopefuls to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The setting is as strong a character in this stark, beautiful and tragic novel as its human protagonists. Tremain gracefully weaves a myriad of cultures- desperate and brave British immigrants, Maori mystics, hardy pakeha locals who watch with rueful humor at the missteps of the recently arrived, resourceful Chinese. These many characteriza [...]

    23. I'm really torn on The Colour. There were bits of it that I really enjoyed, some wonderfully characterised leads, evocative description, a whole litany of human foibles, and once again, the social restraints of the time. Until about the last 100 pages in fact, it was a 4 star read - not stunning, not particularly original, but very well written and quite a page turner. By the end though, something goes wrong. Harriet Salt gets married to a useless man, who is escaping entrapment by a pregnant yo [...]

    24. Harriet and Joesph and Joseph's mother Lilian have arrived in NZ from England to improve their fortunes, all three in need of a new start, for reasons that are slowly revealed throughout the novel.They build a house of cob and try to adapt to the new conditions in this untamed country where nothing can be taken for granted. They will learn numerous harsh lessons and encounter challenges, temptations and people unlike those they have known in the past.Joseph will be lured away by "the colour" whi [...]

    25. I loved the ease with which I read this book. The words seemed to leap off the page. I adore historical fiction and this trip to New Zealand 1864 was wonderful. Joseph and Harriet Blackstone along with his mother Lilian head off on a grand adventure from England to New Zealand. As life begins to form in the new house they will all share we learn why each has left, forcibly or not, and bits and pieces of their past that form their identity. It is a complex story that unfolds gently with each new [...]

    26. I found this book hard to get into, possibly because I was too busy to devote the necessary concentration to it. Still I thought it was an amazing achievement. Throughout the book, particularly before the gold rush episode , there is an ethereal feel to it. The precariousness of their survival is conveyed through its emphasis on the insubstantiality of their surroundings. The characters are clearly delineated. Was there ever a more irritating character than Joseph? He is nasty and narrow minded. [...]

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