Infinite Splendours by Sofie Laguna
Infinite Splendours is filled with vivid descriptions of colour, movement, and grace. It also brims with unfathomable grief. I guarantee that award-winning author Sofie Laguna’s latest novel will force you to revisit moments from your own childhood. But, for those readers among us fortunate to have cherished memories of our early years, imagine if the happy memories were cast into shadow by those that followed, and by the belief that you had to keep secrets about that time. This is Laguna’s superpower: capturing feelings in ways that make them urgently real to her readers – in this instance, how it can feel to be guided in life by emotional states of mortification and anguish.
We meet Lawrence Loman as a cheerful 10-year-old child who is close to his brother Paul and to his mother. We meet him as he is poised to take on the world. Lawrence has considerable artistic ability and a deep appreciation of his environment. An uncle comes to stay and a crime is committed. It is this betrayal that permeates Lawrence’s life. It is only through his paintings that Lawrence can escape; it is through his relationship with the natural world that he is able to experience freedom. As the novel follows Lawrence into his adult life, Laguna considers some of the long-term effects of child abuse.
Laguna is the type of writer who does not hide actuality from her readers. Her mission is to look into dark corners and examine suffering, to expose silence, and to give us an insight into other people’s lives. Like all her adult novels, this one will make you cry. Do read this novel knowing that it is painful, but also read it because Laguna’s writing is kind and, truly, a type of poetry in action.