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Fugitive Blue

'Fugitive pigment: a pigment that is particularly susceptible to changing over time.' A beautiful, beguiling and multi-layered novel, Fugitive Blue tells the story of a young art conservator and her work on a fifteenth-century panel painting in striking ultramarine. As she restores the fragile artwork, her fascination with it grows. How did an inexperienced artist in Renaissance Venice come to possess such valuable art materials? Who has loved it? Relinquished it? Carried it with them across the world? The story follows the painting from its controversial creation and reappearance centuries later during a nobleman' s Grand Tour of Europe, passing through Impressionist-era Paris, before its eventual arrival in Australia as one of the scarce possessions of a post-war Greek migrant family. Against this shifting backdrop, the narrator's own story of love and loss is gradually revealed. 'I spent so much of time restoring things, trying to reclaim their original beauty. All day, I looked at deteriorating objects with their parts exposed like a person with her heart on the outside. I could touch these paintings, make a decision and watch them transform. Done. But then there was us.' Lyrical and intriguing, Fugitive Blue is a fluidly elegant novel that captures the essence of love's fragility.
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About the Author

Claire Thomas has published short stories in various journals, including Meanjin, Island, Overland and Australian Short Stories. She has an honours degree in English and Art History from the University of Melbourne, where she is currently undertaking a PhD. Fugitive Blue - which was longlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Award and the winner of the 2009 Dobbie Award - is her first novel.


Claire Thomas has an Honours degree in Art History from Melbourne University. She has written about something she knows intimately with convincing clarity and depth. Although it is a work of fiction, this is almost biographical in style. The story traces the path of a panel painting with a rare lapis lazuli pigment brought to an art conservator for restoration. The setting moves back and forth from Melbourne, where it begins, to Venice, in fluid transition. Revealed are the lives of the former owners of the painting and there is a strong sense of historical time and place presented through the beautifully descriptive passages. The slow restoration of the picture, the uncovering of its origins and its journey through time, are juxtaposed with the disintegration of the conservator's relationship and the reasons for its breakdown. Both are poignant revelations of human frailties and the evolution of the heart. This is a well-written book with excellent characters. Its interesting subject matter has been intelligently interwoven within a multi-layered story of love lost, past and present, and the endurance of art. It will appeal to an unlimited range of readers, in particular those with a preference for art, and historical fiction. Anastasia Gonis is a former bookseller, freelance reviewer and monthly contributor to Buzz Words and Good Reading magazine

"Readers who loved Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring will also be captivated by this novel." --Sunday Tasmanian

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