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.