Chromatic Reverie: Sheila Heti’s Pure Color

Sheila Heti’s novel “Pure Colour” is a book about the shape of a life, from beginning to end. It’s about art, critics, and aging. The novel is about a young woman named Mira who turns into a leaf. The book is described as a contemporary bible, an atlas of feeling, and an absurdly funny guide to the great (and terrible) things about being alive. “Pure Colour” is a galaxy of a novel: explosive, celestially bright, huge, and streaked with black. The book has an intricate philosophical superstructure and is about a young woman who works in a lamp store and attends a prestigious school for art critics. The novel mixes real and surreal elements, often veering into creation myth or Socratic-style dialogue. The book is simultaneously wise and silly, moving and inscrutable. The creation passages mainly fail to refresh readers’ perceptions of the world as we see it, but the book is indisputably working hard to be new.

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