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The Color Line: A Novel

Appearance Date: 10/29/2022

A gorgeous, haunting novel inspired by a true story. The stories of two women of indomitable spirit intertwining across the centuries. It was the middle of the 19th century when Lafanu Brown had the audacity to be an artist. In the wake of the Civil War, life was especially tough for black women, but she did not let that stop her. Daughter of a Chippewa woman and an African-Haitian man, Lafanu had the rare opportunity to study, travel and follow her dreams, thanks to her indomitable spirit, but not without facing intolerance and violence. Now, she is ready to tell her fiancé about her difficult life, which started in a poor family forty years earlier and brought her to become one of the most established painters first in Florence and then in Rome, where her studio became a required stop on the Grand Tour.

Italy, 2019. A young Italian art curator of Somali origins is desperately trying to bring to Europe her younger cousin, who is only sixteen and already tried to reach Italy in a long desperate journey, where she had to face unbelievable violence. While organizing an art exhibition that will bring together the paintings of Lafanu Brown with the artworks of young migrants, she becomes more and more obsessed with the life and secrets of the 19th-century painter. The voices of this two artists intertwines across the centuries building a choral novel, opening the readers’ eyes on what it means to be a woman, a black woman in a foreign country, yesterday as today.

Meet the Author

Igiaba Scego
Igiaba Scego

Igiaba Scego was born in Rome in 1974 to a family of Somali ancestry. She holds a PhD in education on postcolonial subjects and has done extensive academic work in Italy and around the world. Her memoir La mia casa è dove sono won Italy’s prestigious Mondello Prize. She is a frequent contributor to the magazine Internazionale and to Il Venerdì di Repubblica, a supplement to La Repubblica.