Jakob's Colours

by Lindsay Hawdon

The untold story of the Romany holocaust is the theme of this harrowing novel, echoing the timely and recurrent motif of other refugees fleeing across wartime landscapes. Via flashbacks covering three decades, the poignancy of the title becomes apparent as, like in the darkest folk tale, humanity is shown at its worst and at its best. Be ready to be put through the emotional wringer at the devastating ending.


Watching his mother, Jakob saw a calm quiet space that made her movements lucid, seamless, one leading on from another, as if to break the sequence would be her undoing. Slowly she made up their beds, gathered leaves, soothed her children as she had soothed them every night ...
Only Jakob was still awake when she reached the end of the story. Only he knew of the exultation and the reasons to no longer be afraid. At length he stood and quietly walked around the room, picked up first a round, lake-smoothed piece of glass and placed it inside a small wooden box with a crescent shaped clasp that he had found hidden beneath the stack of logs at the side of the workhouse. One by one he picked up his father’s colours, blew the dust from them, placed them layer upon layer, inside the box. He collected them all, and only then did he lay himself down on his makeshift bed and, clutching his small box to him, fall asleep.


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