Eleven-year-old Novi just wants to blend in - not easy when you're named after a silkworm and have the most eccentric family in town. A descendent of the first Italian silk growers in northern New South Wales, he is an obsessive artist with a habit of drawing the stories of the people around him, and a secret conviction that the river murdered his grandfather.
Young teacher Dom Best is new in town and must overcome his lack of confidence to support Novi's talent. Together with Camille, the enigmatic school librarian, Dom encourages the boy to release his inhibitions and unravel his unusual family history through his art - though little can he imagine the consequences this will bring.
Watercolours is a poignant debut novel with a mystery at its heart, an unexpected love story, and a surprising twist. Most of all, it celebrates the clarity and colour a child's-eye view brings to the adult world.
"When Dom moves to the rural backwater of Morus, on the Lewis River, as the town’s new primary school teacher, he is unsure of his new home. When he notices that one of his pupils, Novi Lepido, is a talented artist, he feels out of his depth. Dom’s efforts to foster the boy’s talent uncover the Lepido family’s links to the local history and the landscape, stirring up hidden wells of grief and ancient history. This is Adrienne Ferreira’s first novel, and an excitingly good book. The way in which Ferreira translates her characters onto the page is disarming in its simplicity and immensely enjoyable to read. Watercolours is a collection of well-captured moments, presented in a multitude of first-person narratives. It is a refreshingly good Australian story that will appeal to readers who enjoy reading about love and the triumph of good intentions. The subject matter will suit both adult and young adult readers, and will ensure it is appreciated far and wide." (Bookseller + Publisher)
"A stunner. It's note-perfect and the control of the shifting points of view is incredibly skillful. The descriptions of Novi's painting and his way of seeing the world are gut-wrenching. It's a really fine novel." (Malcolm Knox)
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