BY JENNIE ERDAL (Abacus £12.99)

Author Jennie Erdal

The Missing Shade Of Blue by Jennie Erdal

Jennie Erdal’s erudite debut tackles philosophy, fly-fishing and the many conundrums of modern life, from sexual jealousy to the absence of faith.

Reticent, reserved translator Edgar Logan arrives in Edinburgh and becomes embroiled in the troubled lives of Harry Sanderson, a philosopher, and his painter wife Carrie.

Sanderson is physically disintegrating - his skin peeling, weeping and wounded - and his inner world is equally painful. Angst-ridden, stricken by doubt and misery, despite having written a best-selling study of happiness, he seeks refuge in whisky and fishing. Carrie is struggling to cope with her beloved son’s mental illness and the notion that she no longer loves her husband, whilst being drawn to meditation and Edgar.

Erdal’s slow-moving, metaphor-packed novel ambitiously deals with weighty matters - artistic integrity, the veracity of translation, love and loss - but her characters are too freighted with their philosophical and artistic dilemmas to be emotionally engaging.