Under the Visible Life
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.
An unforgettable story of two women's lives transformed by the most powerful kind of love there is: friendship.
I lost count of how many times I was caught off-guard by the poignancy of this novel. Every page pits hope against despair. Every page screams, fight for your dreams, you are lost without them. This story of motherhood and friendship, anchored by two extraordinary heroines, will stay with me for a long time. -- Khaled Hosseini
This book is nothing short of a masterpiece. --Quill and Quire
This novel is a love song to music itself, the true and requited love of these gifted musicians' lives. --Globe & Mail
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
The novel carries readers through an impressive cavalcade of personal and societal changes. Echlin is that rare writer who can evoke the joy of playing and listening to music without resorting to overly abstract language or fuzzy metaphors. --Toronto Star Review
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.