Synopses & Reviews
A sweeping saga of love and greed set during the mid-nineteenth century gold rush in New Zealand.
Joseph and Harriet Blackstone, along with Josephs mother Lilian, emigrate from England in search of new beginnings and prosperity in New Zealand. But the harsh land near Christchurch where they settle threatens to destroy them almost before they begin. When Joseph finds gold in the creek, he guiltily hides the discovery from his wife and mother, and is seized by a rapturous obsession with the voluptuous riches awaiting him deep in the earth. Abandoning his farm and family, he sets off alone for the new gold fields over the Southern Alps, a moral wilderness where many others, under the seductive dreams of the “colour,” are violently rushing to their destinies.
Harriet bravely decides to pursue her own journey towards an uncertain future. But nothing has prepared her for what happens when she too arrives at the gold diggings. Amid squalor and confusion, burning heat and icy flood, Harriet Blackstone comes face to face with the true cost of desire.
Hauntingly evocative and, by turns, both moving and terrifying, The Colour is the story of a quest for the impossible, an attempt to mine the complexities of love and in the process discover what it is that makes men and women happy.
A gripping drama of sacrifice and greed set during the mid-nineteenth century gold rush in New Zealand. By turns both moving and terrifying, it is a story of the quest for the impossible, an attempt to mine the complexities of love and in the process discover the sacrifices to be made in the pursuit of happiness. Builds on the success of 'Music and Silence'.
Stark and evocative novel set around the New Zealand gold rush of the mid 19th century. Tremain's "Music and Silence", a former Whitbread Novel Award-winner, has sold almost 200,000 copies in Vintage paperback. "A fabulous work, bravely imaginative, deeply moving, surprising, invigorating and satisfying" "The Independent"
About the Author
Rose Tremains most recent novel, the bestselling Music and Silence
, won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award. Her work, including Restoration
, Sacred Country
and The Way I Found Her
has been translated around the world.
From the Hardcover edition.
Reading Group Guide
1. Consider the concept of Englishness in the novel, and how you feel Tremain deals with the idea of 'reassembling' little pieces of England in New Zealand.
2. How does Tremain handle the presence of the Maoris in the novel, in relation to the English people who have descended upon them?
3. Many of the characters are driven by the force of escapism, an over-powering urge to leave all that is behind them and find a brave new utopia in New Zealand. Who do you think is most driven by this romantic notion, and is Tremain critical of this in any way?
4. Compare Tremain's treatment and characterisation of the indigenous Maoris, and their desire for greenstone, with that of Joseph's, and the other gold-diggers, whom she describes as "Men like moths, going towards a golden light" (p148).
5. How does the 19th century notion of Goldrush relate to our modern day? Consider whether you can think of any contemporary examples where the Goldrush mentality — and all its social and cultural effects — is still manifest in our society.
6. "Without desire, nothing is made." (p138). How important is this line to the overall story? Consider the concept of desire and the different forms it takes on in the novel.