Beginning the day of the devastating Halifax Explosion of 1917, Dazzle Patterns is an unforgettable story about loss, the resilience of the human spirit, and the transformative power of art.
While Clare Holmes waits for her fiancé, Leo, to return from the war in France, she works as a flaw checker at the Halifax glassworks. It is there that she meets Fred Baker, a mysterious master glassmaker who was trained in his home country of Germany. After the disastrous explosion on December 6, 1917 - which killed 2000, injured thousands more, and is said to have shattered every window in the city - Clare, Leo, and Fred's lives become irrevocably intertwined.
In the chaos and turmoil of the war and the aftermath of the explosion, Clare finds solace in drawing, but is further devastated when Leo is reported missing. Meanwhile, tensions in the community quickly rise: who was responsible for the explosion? Could there be German collaborators in their midst? When Fred is arrested, Clare is determined to find a way to prove her new friend's innocence.
Dazzle Patterns is a moving story about three people making their way through harrowing, impossible times. With extraordinary vision and clarity, Alison Watt's remarkable debut novel brings the past to life.
Alison Watt's poetry has appeared in many journals, including Prairie Fire, Event, Sub-terrain, and Arc. She is also a painter who works and teaches out of her studio on Protection Island, near Nanaimo. Her first book, The Last Island: A Naturalist's Sojourn on Triangle Island, won the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction. Her book of poetry, Circadia, came out with Pedlar Press in 2005. Dazzle Patterns is her first novel. Both her painting and her writing reflect her background as a biologist and her ongoing preoccupation with the natural world, both as a backdrop to our unfolding lives and in its own aesthetics and intimacies.
"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