Author(s): Claire Thomas
'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.
Winner of Dobbie Award 2009.
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.