The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan explores the aftermath of a loved one’s suicide. This is a 2023 high school Nutmeg nominee.
Leigh’s mother had been showing signs of depression for quite a while. After her suicide, Leigh feels intense sadness and guilt. Her mother visits her as a red bird, leaving behind a message to remember along with items from the past. This sets Leigh on a course to Taiwan, where she meets her mother’s parents for the first time.
Leigh experiences important places and people from her mother’s past, some in reality and some through dream-like visions. All help her to better understand her mother and father, while also allowing her to confront her own feelings. Leigh’s artwork and relationships are important pieces of the story as well.
This is an artistic look at love, loss, mental illness, culture and family.