Jakob’s Colours by Lindsay Hawdon


I can’t thank enough Kerry Hood at Hodder, Bookbridgr and Lindsay Hawdon for providing a review copy of this wonderful, wonderful book.

I can hardly bring myself to produce a blog post about ‘Jakob’s Colours’ by Lindsay Hawdon as I feel anything I write will only besmirch the memory of having read it. None of my words can conjure up the emotional experience of reading this book.

The narrative concerns 8 year old Jakob’s fight for survival and is based around the Second World War treatment of Roma people. It spans back into the past to give the reader a full understanding of Jakob’s heritage through the childhood lives of his parents, Lor and Yavy. We see that ‘We live in a time of angels and devils, but not a single one of us is either’ as Hawdon explores great cruelty and great kindness in her writing.

Meticulously researched, I found this novel highly effective and deeply affecting. Not a single syllable seemed out of place as the beauty of colour and description drew me in to the story. I could feel, for example, the tenderness of Lor’s caress of Jakob’s face, and the sense of loss running throughout was almost too much to bear. The writing is sophisticated and totally convincing. The prose is beautiful on many levels, from the visual imagery of colours, through Lor and Jakob’s allegorical story telling to the exploration of humanity. Reading ‘Jakob’s Colours’ has made me look at the colours of life with a renewed perspective.

‘Jakob’s Colours’ is by far the most emotional and incredible book I’ve read this year and, truthfully, it may be the best book I’ve ever read. I cannot praise it highly enough.

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