Broken Colors by Michele Zackheim chronicles the remarkable life and art of Sophie Marks. Raised in rural England by her artist grandparents, Sophie is inclined to follow her own bohemian existence. When World War II strikes its catastrophic devastation upon the Midlands, and her own young life, Sophie loses all she knows. While she is forever scarred from those wounds and other tragedies, she finds constant new ways to make herself shine with resilience, most importantly through her painting. She finds love and many years of romantic fulfillment in a sculptor named Luca Bondi, but when their relationship crumbles, Sophie must yet again find a new direction for herself. In the end, Sophie comes full circle, proving that perhaps it is never too late.
Zackheim accurately captures the essence of painting and art processes through words. She tells the story quietly, with beautiful but unpretentious language, and the story tugs at the heart. The emotions ring true and the story sweeps across Sophie’s whole life, from young womanhood into her eighties. Woven with bits of history, beautiful descriptive fragments of Europe–from the Midlands of England, to Paris, to Italy, the American Southwest and back again, Zackheim paints a sentimental and vibrant story.
Any creative spirit will appreciate this book. Broken Colors is rich with life pleasures and sumptuous language. Inspiring quotes from famous artists punctuate between chapters, and Zackheim’s style is consistent and solid. It’s an intense book, in both content and wording, a book to be savored and enjoyed. Just as in real life, passion is sometimes juxtaposed with anguish, and devastation with constant hope.