“Fugitive Colors” by Lisa Barr is one of the best books I have read in the past year. While the first 50 pages were tough to get through, once the book took off, it soared.
Barr tells the story of a Jewish artist, Yakov — Julian — Klein, who is forced to leave his ultra-Orthodox family because he would rather draw than study Torah. Eventually, he travels to Paris to go to art school.
There, he becomes friends with two young men and a young woman. They are modern artists, hardcore creative and extremely risqué . In his new life, he paints, loves and he wants.
Two of his friends are Jewish, Rene and Adrienne, and one is a non-Jew, Felix, originally from Germany. The foursome are inseparable, despite Julian’s love of Adrienne (she is already with Rene) and Rene’s love affair with model Charlotte (Felix covets her, too).
Rene is one of the most talented artists; Felix is jealous. When Felix’s father comes for him and recruits him back to Germany, Felix becomes engulfed in the Nazi party. He has opened an invitation to his two male counterparts, which involves painting with a famous German artist. When they come, though, they are trapped by Nazi Germany.
Concentration camps, murder and mayhem ensue — all for the sake of art.
It is an incredible and intriguing, edge-of-your-seat and almost believable portrayal. And the ending has an interesting twist that brought this reader to tears. An excellent read.