Saturday, 9 May 2015

Review: Under the Visible Life by Kim Echlin

Fatherless Katherine carries the stigma of her mixed-race background through an era that is hostile to her and all she represents. It is only through music that she finds the freedom to temporarily escape and dream of a better life for herself, nurturing this hard-won refuge throughout the vagaries of unexpected motherhood and an absent husband, and relying on her talent to build a future for her family.

Orphaned Mahsa also grows up in the shadow of loss, sent to relatives in Pakistan after the death of her parents. Struggling to break free, she escapes to Montreal, leaving behind her first love, Kamal. But the threads of her past are not so easily severed, and she finds herself forced into an arranged marriage.
For Mahsa, too, music becomes her solace and allows her to escape from her oppressive circumstances.

When Katherine and Mahsa meet, they find in each other a kindred spirit as well as a musical equal, and their lives are changed irrevocably. Together, they inspire and support one another, fusing together their cultures, their joys, and their losses—just as they collaborate musically in the language of free-form, improvisational jazz.

Under the Visible Life takes readers from the bustling harbour of Karachi to the palpable political tension on the streets of 1970s Montreal to the smoky jazz clubs of New York City. Deeply affecting, vividly rendered, and sweeping in scope, it is also an exploration of the hearts of two unforgettable women: a meditation on how hope can remain alive in the darkest of times when we have someone with whom to share our burdens.

Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Hamish Hamilton Canada
Terri's Thoughts
** I won a copy of this book as part of a giveaway on Goodreads.  In exchange I will give my honest opinion**
 I found this book to be very interesting.  Featuring two women who are trying to follow their passions and have to struggle with being different.  I also enjoyed how both women were very different from each other yet had similar dreams and how their paths crossed to have their lives intertwined.

First there is Katherine who was independent from an early age and started to pursue her dreams young.  Then comes Mahsa who does not learn that pursuing her dream is an option until she moves to Montreal to get an education and sees the freedoms afforded to woman compared to her home country.

I have to say that I preferred Mahsa's story simply because her circumstances infuriated me.  As a female I find it difficult to fathom that every woman in the world does not have the same freedoms and choices that I do.  I kept hoping she would find a way out of her situation and protect her children at the same time.

All in all I found this a very enjoyable read.  I like the fact that a lot of it took place in Montreal where I was familiar with a lot of the places/streets that were described.  It made it a little easier to visualize.  I am glad I had the opportunity to read this story

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