Half Chinese and half Canadian, Katherine Goodnow struggles through a 1950's childhood hostile to all she represents. Then, as a teenager, she discovers jazz, and her life is transformed. Her talent for the piano brings her freedom, adventure, and a sense of purpose, helping her survive unexpected motherhood and her incurable love for the unreliable father of her children. Half American and half Afghani, Mahsa Weaver is only twelve when, after the death of her parents, she is sent to live with strict relatives in Karachi. Struggling to break free, she escapes to Montreal, 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 passion, allowing her to dare to dream of a life that is really her own. When these two women meet in New York, they begin a friendship that will change everything. Vividly rendered and sweeping in scope, Under the Visible Life is a stunning meditation on how hope can remain alive in the darkest of times, if we have someone with whom to share our burdens.
How hard would you fight for the things you love?
I lost count of how many times I was caught off-guard by the poignancy ... every page pits hope against despair ... this story of motherhood and friendship, anchored by two extraordinary heroines, will stay with me for a long time. -- Khaled Hosseini Her prose is always arresting: plain and vigorous, a language of resistance, dreaming of female freedom Independent Echlin has created two women who practically explode off the page with their desire, talent and brilliance. They are both incredibly flawed, making all the wrong choices, falling for difficult men, and raising kids on messy kitchens floors-and yet, like most women, they find a way to make life work through the chaos. The result is a book that has the rhythm, cadence and sexuality of a piano tune played in a little theatre on the wrong side of a big town. Heather O'Neill Echlin impresses with the seemingly flawless presentation of Mahsa's Muslim family and the Karachi setting Guardian
Kim Echlin lives in Toronto. She is the author of Elephant Winter, Dagmar's Daughter, Inanna: From the Myths of Ancient Sumer, and The Disappeared, which was published in seventeen languages, nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for Fiction.