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Fiction Historical

Dazzle Patterns

by (author) Alison Watt

Freehand Books
Initial publish date
Oct 2017
Historical, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2017
    List Price
  • CD-Audio

    Publish Date
    Nov 2018
    List Price

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Where to buy it


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.

About the author

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.

Alison Watt's profile page


  • Short-listed, Amazon Canada First Novel Award

Editorial Reviews

“Dazzle Patterns is a gorgeous and immersive read, the work of a great and generous talent. You must read this book.”

Kevin Patterson

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