Oct 27, 2015

Book Review: Shifting Colours by Fiona Sussman

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Review by Suze

Celia Mphephu works for the Steiners. They're living in a white suburb in South Africa. Celia has a daughter, Miriam, and she loves her more than anything in the world. It's the beginning of the sixties and unrest grows in the country. So much that Mr. and Mrs. Steiner don't feel safe any longer. They want to go to England and because they don't have any children of their own they ask Celia if they can adopt Miriam. They will give her a secure future with more education than she'd ever been able to get in South Africa. Celia has to make the most difficult decision of her life...

Miriam doesn't like her life in England very much. She stands out and people aren't always friendly to her. She also misses her mother. She tries to live her life, but she doesn't feel complete. That's why she eventually decides to go back to South Africa to look for her roots. 

Shifting Colours is an impressive story about a mother and a daughter who are separated. Celia has to make a difficult decision and she does that out of love, which is awful and beautiful at the same time. The situation in South Africa is scary, she fears for her daughter, and I could totally imagine that. It must be really hard to live in a country that has such strong foundations based on inequality. I felt so bad for her and for everything she had to go through. I wanted Miriam to be safe, but my heart broke when they were separated. 

I highly recommend this great novel. The writing is really good, it makes the reader feel everything that's going on so well. There are two voices, Miriam's and Celia's. I think that they were cleverly intertwined. I immediately loved both of their personalities. I cared for them and that made me feel emotionally attached to the story straight away. It left such a deep impression on me. I highly recommend this book, it's absolutely brilliant.


  1. +JMJ+

    Over the years, I've grown very ambivalent about international adoption. While adoptive parents can certainly give a lot of love and care to the children they take as their own, and I don't mean to diminish that, there is simply nothing that can replace children's roots. We get so much of our sense of self and our ideas for our futures from what we know of our past--a past that is not just ours, but also our ancestors'. I hope that Miriam reconnects with her roots by the end of this novel.


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