I’ve never read a book like this before; I came for the circus, but stayed for the politics & emotions. Hidden Colours is a circus book set in Berlin about a group of refugees that are in a fight against their government & their neighbours; it’s super engaging, with heartfelt writing & important themes & I loved it.
I was sent this book by the author in return for an honest review.
This book contains discussions of war, death, violence &
details about life as a refugee how has had to flee their country for safety. The book also shows racism, Islamophobia & describes hate-crimes
“What better way to ease tensions between the local population & refugees than by encouraging interactions in a frivolous setting while also enabling a livelihood,
sense of community & a path to citizenship?”
Over a week into the year & I’ve finally finished my first book of 2019… & I loved it! This is one of those books that I feel was written for someone just like me – anyone who follows my reviews or social media will know that I’m obsessed with books set around/in circuses or fairgrounds; but I’m also massively interested in politics like those covered in this book, so I couldn’t help but love it. Nillu has written something so beautiful & I desperately hope that it may inspire someone in a government somewhere to set up a programme like the one in this book!
Nillu’s writing was fantastic & she really got into her character’s heads – all of them had good background stories put together, even the characters who weren’t key players in the story, & that helped make the whole tale so much more real. It was also incredible how realistic the characters in the story actually were – Rex, the horrible MP is probably the most realistic in my eyes & in some ways that really does make me feel sick. But the stories of the refugees were also so very, very real & when you take a step back & consider how many people go through what these characters did, it really does break your heart.
Despite how sad some parts of this novel were, the magic of the circus was laced throughout the whole story, & I loved how much joy the circus brought to the lives of the refugees. The circus is something very magical & pure in my eyes, & when I was reading this book it made me so happy to know someone else, meaning Nillu, sees the circus that way too. Any books I read in circus settings are such deep forms of escape for me & I genuinely can’t help but fall in love with the stories set in those wonderful places.
This book is also full of some really important messages, & I think it’s incredibly educational. Rex, the vile MP that’s making the circus family’s life hell, felt scarily real & I know that people like that are really out there, which breaks my f’ing heart. A really obvious issue in this book is of course racism, but there’s also the subject of a white girl trying to help a bunch of brown refugees – normally I’d slate this, but the book actually addresses this!!! One of our main characters addresses our “hero” & it’s glorious – I have so much respect for Nillu for this part of the book because it’s incredibly brave to throw it just out there – it’s also a massive f you to all the white hero books.
“I don’t need a white saviour”
I loved that there are book group discussion questions at the end of the book & I wish I had a book group to discuss this book with, because I know how engaged I would be in those conversations. The book has also left me wanting to know more about Nillu’s family, because it’s obvious this book has been written with some personal knowledge about being a refugee, & the mentioning of Nillu’s grandmother in her Author’s Note just confirmed this for me.
This book was beautiful, & fully deserves the 4.5 stars that I awarded it – the only reason it wasn’t a 5 star read for me was because I felt it dragged on a little in places, but I think that’s more because I haven’t had much time to read recently & it’s taken me over a week to finish it. I can’t believe this book isn’t all over my Twitter timeline & I hope my review might help that happen – grab your own copy using the links below:
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Book Depository | Waterstones | Wordery