Pure Colour: A Novel
Sheila Heti’s Pure Colour is an exploration of personhood, art, and grief, as well as the concentric circles they create around the timeless question: what is the meaning of it all?
Following young Mira from her venture from home into art school to learn to be a critic, the novel traces its themes around her experiences as a young critic, daughter, rejected lover, then simply as a person. As she navigates the death of her father and unrequited love, Mira becomes lost in her own definitions of human relationships, falling out with the world and only coming back when she realizes that mortality and brevity are necessary to the beauty, the pure color, of life. With an experimental form that doesn’t quite tell a linear story as much as it whispers its conscience, this narrative of art and yearning is beautiful and innocent, a haunting challenge of our conceptualization of individualism. It prompts the reader to think of human smallness compared to the larger universe and its inner and outer workings, and how each perspective is nothing more than these working gears observing their own selves.
Heti explores the transience of human consciousness while yielding to its immortality – a paradox that speaks to the impossibility of God and how we have constructed him around our myopic beliefs and observations. In separating the art we create as testaments to the “first draft” of life from the eventuality of our own demise in a perfect, “final draft,” Pure Colour threatens existential questioning but delivers a gentle, empathetic surrender to our own mortality and the infinite spaces we’ve drawn inside of it.
|Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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