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.
Fugitive Blue won the 2009 Dobbie Award for Women Writers, part of the Kibble Literary Awards
Fugitive Blue was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2009
- Buy Fugitive Blue online from publisher Allen & Unwin
- Read an excerpt from Fugitive Blue here (PDF): fugitive blue – excerpt
- See the reading group guide to Fugitive Blue here (PDF): fugitive blue – reading group notes
- Listen to a reading from Fugitive Blue on ABC Radio National
“Claire Thomas’s Fugitive Blue…my novel of the year, for its sweep, evocative detail, and exquisite writing. Claire Thomas is…enormously talented.” Robyn Williams, ABR
“Thomas suggests parallel stories about love and loss, female creativity and unrealised desire. Polished and poignant, expressed with incisiveness and resonance, Fugitive Blue doesn’t miss a beat.” Westerly
“Fugitive Blue shows Claire Thomas to be a writer of great promise. The book is well structured, with cunning symbolism…and a resolution of great poignancy. [The] author lures the reader into the world of fine arts with superb descriptions, bringing pictures and painters of other eras to life with deft imagery.” Lisa Hill, ANZLitLovers LitBlog
“beautifully done with great imagination.” Kerryn Goldsworthy, The Sydney Morning Herald
“Thomas captures atmosphere with artful economy and sketches characters and emotions with masterly precision. A novel to be reckoned with.” Murray Waldren
“Fugitive Blue is a novel about art, the fragility of love and transformation. The fresh and vivid images evoked by Claire Thomas resonate with the reader long after the novel is finished.” Judges of the Dobbie Award