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A Spectral Hue
By Craig Laurance Gidney

Discussed August 2019

Buy A Spectral Hue from


  • Xavier
  • Lincoln
  • Iris
  • Hazel
  • Fuschia/Amarantha
  • Dr. Lenski
  • Other Acolytes (Shadrach, Hosea, Edna, Tamar)


  1. Did you read/finish the book?
  2. Did you like it? Why or why not?
  3. The novel jumps around in both time and point of view. How did that affect your experience of the story?
  4. What themes stood out for you? Art? Creativity? Inspiration? What others?
  5. Much of the story explores in both overt and covert ways the experiences of people of color through America's story – did the experiences feel organic or did they feel forced? Did the explorations of racial experience discomfort you?
  6. There seems to be a message of a tie between trauma and artistic expression in the story – where did we see this happening?
  7. Have you ever experienced so-called “Outsider Art”? How did your experience of that differ from your experience of traditional art?
  8. Many of the characters in the book are queer. Do you think the author is trying to imply a connection between the ability to produce art and queerness? Does one need to be “othered” to have the spark of creativity?
  9. The “magic”/”power” of Fuschia/Amaranth is never really explored or explained – were you okay with her simply being a magical being?
  10. The town of Shimmer is described with words that make it seem ugly and desolate at times, but also beautiful and wild at others. Why do you think the author elected to utilize a place like Shimmer as the central location for this story?
  11. Color plays a central role in the story – from skin color to the colors in the environment and in the art. Did the abundant use of color in the story help you visualize the scenes? Do you think the abundance of color-descriptors was an intentional choice for that reason?
  12. Would you want to read more of Gidney's work after reading this?
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