Colorful Novels – Wonderful Novels with at Least One Color in Their Title

 

Each of the following novels have met three qualifications:  1) It has been read by me. 2) It received my highest rating when I read it. 3) It has at least one color in its title.

 

blue‘The Blue Flower’ by Penelope Fitzgerald (1997) – This is one of many fine short novels by Fitzgerald, this about the German Romantic writer Novalis.  Here is a historical novel for people who don’t like historical novels.

 

 

 

letter‘The Scarlet Letter’ by Nathanial Hawthorne (1850) – Hester Prynne is found guilty of adultery and must wear a scarlet ‘A’ on her dress to shame her.  Don’t be afraid to read Hawthorne.  I find him as easy a read as Mark Twain although in a totally different style.

 

 

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‘Black Swan Green’ by David Mitchell (2006) – I loved this little novel about a Worcestershire boy with a speech disorder, whereas I find some of Mitchell’s longer stuff perplexing.  I have high hopes for ‘Slade House’ which will be released soon and is again a shorter novel.

 

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‘From the Black Hills’ by Judy Troy (1999) – This is a strong coming of age work about a son who must contend with his father’s dark deeds.  The father has shot and killed his female receptionist lover and has disappeared.   This sounds melodramatic, but these things do happen, and Troy’s skill as a novelist pulls it off well.

 

 

f25d9e9bcad54884bb990b9de3e42637‘The Red and the Black’ by Stendhal (1830) – ‘Red’ stands for army, and ‘Black’ stands for clergy.  This novel about young man Julien Sorel is considered the first psychological novel.

“The idea which tyrants find most useful is the idea of God.” – Stendhal

 

 

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‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess (1962) – After a night of ultra-violence with his gang of droogs, Alex is sent off to prison for aversion therapy to cure him.  This is a dystopian novel that resonates and sickens with modern psychological theory.

 

 

 

 

514ejli9TeL._AC_UL200_SR128,200_‘The Rose Garden’ by Maeve Brennan (2000) – I suppose this is cheating since ‘Rose’ is both a plant and a color.  However if there is an opportunity to include Maeve Brennan in a list, I will do so.  This is a short story collection by one of the wittiest people who ever lived.

“The impulse toward good involves choice and is complicated, and the impulse toward bad is hideously easy and simple.” – Maeve Brennan

 

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‘The Golden Droplet’ by Michel Tournier (1987) – Again I cheat as ‘Gold’ is both a mineral and a color.  And again Michel Tournier is a writer worthy of inclusion, no matter what.  Michel Tournier is a writer of fairy tales for adults, and this is one of his finest.

 

 

 

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‘White Noise’ by Don DeLillo (1985) – An industrial accident unleashes an “Airborne Toxic Event”.  This is a brilliant post-modern novel.  Lev Grossman said ‘White Noise’ is “pitched at a level of absurdity slightly above that of real life.”

 

 

 

mtjykTvSeT2OI3ihZGq1hNw‘The Golden Spur’ by Dawn Powell (1962) – A young man is in search of his real father which could be any one of three men.  This is a raucous outrageous novel told with Powell’s sparkling wit.

“Hold fast to whatever fragments of love that exist, for sometimes a mosaic is more beautiful than an unbroken pattern. – Dawn Powell

 

 

01200000029156134398085025912_s‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ by Michel Faber (2002) – Here is a vivid obscene Victorian novel for today.  The Victorian Era was much sexier than we ever considered.

“History indulges strange whims in the way it dresses its women.”  – Michel Faber

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9 responses to this post.

  1. What a clever idea for a post! I’ve read some of these (Hawthorn, Mitchell, Stendhal, Burgess and Faber) but not the others. I must read Tournier one of these days, I’ve got The Ogre on the TBR because it’s in 1001 Books, but I hadn’t heard of The Golden Droplet…

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    • Hi Lisa,
      ‘The Ogre’ is an excellent novel as well as ‘Friday’, ‘The Four Wisemen’, and ‘The Golden Droplet’. Tournier’s book of stories, ‘The Fetishist’, is also very fine. Tournier writes in an odd style different from anyone else but still easy to follow. I always thought he should have gotten the Nobel Prize, and am always disappointed when they give it to someone else. He is 90 years old and still alive. He re-tells stories like Robinson Crusoe or the Wisemen in his own distinct style.

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  2. A great selection of books. I’ve only read a couple of these (A Clockwork Orange and Black Swan Green), but the Faber and DeLillo are in my TBR. Maeve Brennan’s an interesting inclusion. I’ve heard great things about her work but have never read any (well, not yet).

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    • HI Jacqui,
      Maeve Brennan wrote a column for the New Yorker called Long-Winded Lady’. However mental illness and alcoholism caught up with her, and she was virtually homeless at times, and sometimes she stayed overnight at the New Yorker offices. She is absolutely brilliant in the small amount of fiction she left behind.
      I would start with her novella ‘The Visitor’ which is mighty fine.

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  3. Great list, Tony! Pleased to see Faber on it: such a great novel!

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  4. Great list and idea.

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  5. Adding a couple of Orhan Pamuk novels: My Name Is Red and The Black Book. Both colors are already used by Stendhal though.

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    • Hi Angus,
      Yes, both of these novels by Pamuk would fit nicely. I’ve read ‘My Name is Red’, and it is a fine novel. I don’t believe I’ve read ‘The Black Book’ yet. I did read ‘Snow’ which was also very fine.

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