Recently unearthed from the ground, Marble leaves her new lover in Copenhagen and travels to Athens. The city is overflowing with colour, steam and fragrance, cats cry like babies at night, the economic crisis is raging. In this volatile landscape, Marble grasps the world by exploring its immediate surfaces. Capturing specks of colour on ancient sculptures in the Acropolis Museum with an infrared camera, she simultaneously traces the pioneering sculptor Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen, who spent several months in the same place 110 years earlier. Far away from her husband and children, Carl-Nielsen showed that Archaic sculptures were originally painted in bright colours – a feat which meant defying Victorian gender roles and jeopardising her marriage.
Amalie Smith ignites everyday encounters into sites of revelation and metamorphosis. Sensuous and electric, yet admirably forensic in its approach to mineral life, Marble is a galvanizing novel about the materials life is made of, about korai and sponge diving, about looking and looking again, written in a spare and pellucid style.