Dazzle Patterns by Alison Watt

Dazzle Patterns

by Alison Watt

October 1, 2017
6 x 9, paper, 350 pages
CDN/US $21.95

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Winner of the 2018 Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year Award
Finalist for the 2018 Amazon Canada First Novel Award
A 49th Shelf Top Fiction Book of 2017

Beginning the day of the devastating Halifax Explosion of 1917, Dazzle Patterns is an unforgettable story about resilience, the power of art, and the casualties of war.

Halifax, 1917. Clare Holmes, a flaw checker at the local glassworks, is saving up for passage to England, to work for the Red Cross and be near her fiancé, Leo, who is fighting in France. But one normal Thursday morning, a deadly explosion in the Halifax harbour shatters the city – and Clare is caught up in the blast.

As Clare struggles to recover from her injuries, she stumbles upon the School of Art, where she finds solace in drawing, and a mentor who encourages Clare’s burgeoning artistic ambitions. But how can one be an artist when the whole world has gone mad? When her own city is half-destroyed? When she’s not sure if Leo will ever come home?

Meanwhile the city, weary from the seemingly endless war and torn apart by the devastating explosion, is wracked with fear and mistrust of foreigners. Clare’s new friend Fred, a glassmaker from Germany, is pulled into a web of suspicion, causing Clare to question everything she thought she knew.

Dazzle Patterns is an unforgettable story about resilience, art, and the casualties of war, abroad and at home. With extraordinary vision and clarity, Alison Watt’s remarkable debut novel brings the past to life.

Advance Praise for Dazzle Patterns

Dazzle Patterns is a gorgeous and immersive read, the work of a great and generous talent. You must read this book.” – Kevin Patterson, author of Notes from the Red Desert

Watt has a light touch, evoking the historical setting with the subtle and effective deployment of period detail. Despite the tragic detonation that sets the story into motion, Dazzle Patterns does not attempt to blow the reader away. Instead it quietly seduces, drawing you into its world until you realize that there is nowhere else you would rather be.” – Ian Colford, author of Perfect World

Reviews and interviews

“Exquisite.” — 2018 Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year Award jury

On CBC Books’ list of “12 great Canadian debut novels you should check out,” May 7, 2018.

“The effects and cost of war, the healing gifts of art, and the enduring nature of love are all expertly blended in this fine novel.” Story Circle, January 8, 2018.

“How I Wrote It” interview with CBC Books, December 6, 2017.

“The author has painted a fascinating portrait of growth and industry, tragedy and trauma, art and healing.” – Consumed by Ink, November 2017.

This is the most honest depiction of recovery I have ever seen in a novel before… Dazzle Patterns is a story of hope and resilience and healing.” The Martlet, November 16, 2917

“Taking a refreshing new angle in tackling the Explosion’s after-effects, Watt dramatizes art-making as her protagonist’s means of overcoming post-Explosion stress disorder.” – Atlantic Books Today, Winter 2017.

Dazzle Patterns won me over entirely, as you’ve probably noticed . . . its people and the streets they walk on became as vivid as the room I’m sitting in now. I loved this book, the art of its tapestry, all of it leading toward an ending that was absolutely perfect.” — Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This, October 2017