Invisible Ties by Nadya A. R. is a poignant tale of love, loss and longing. Dealing with various issues rampant in our society, this book is an eye opener on many levels.
With a contemporary setting, the story is simple at the core but has a deep message interlaced with the narrative all throughout the book. Invisible Ties is the story of Noor , the main protagonist. Having grown up in Karachi, Pakistan amidst high society parents, Noor grows to be a timid and docile woman. She gets married Meekal, to a person of her parents’ choice much against her will only to please them, as is the way in most of South Asian countries.
Landing in Singapore, she realizes her husband married her only to please his mother and get a caretaker for her. He already has an Indian girlfriend, Jyoti, whom he wants to marry. However, Noor decides to continue with this convenience based arrangement for she cannot return to Pakistan. She decides to pursue further studies and meets her neighbour Ella as a potential customer, who in turn introduces her to Jake. Jake is a disturbed individual having recently lost both his job and girlfriend. He comes to Noor for healing through psychotherapy. Both experience a strange attraction towards each other, but Noor decides to step back and give her marriage yet another chance.
Despite having a Pakistani protagonist, the story of Noor is relatable for any women across the world—being expected to behave in a particular manner, being confined to a set definition of what is expected from her, being told what she can and what she cannot do, and never being allowed to dream. Across the world we have many examples where women lead lives resigned to fate, simply because they fear the repercussions if they decide to retaliate against it all.
Amongst it all, Noor comes across as a breath of fresh fair for being a woman who thinks differently and wants to be the change she wants to see in the world. In today’s world, it is extremely difficult to stay true to ones beliefs and Noor does that with such elan.
It is inspiring to see her transformation from being a meek and submissive person to someone who is opinionated, one who knows what she wants and what she should do to achieve it. Circumstances in life have the power of changing us beyond recognition; this story is about one such transformation.
Taking us from Karachi and Lahore to Singapore, Malacca and London, the author shows us a glimpse of what life is like for expats in these countries. The research done by the author for every aspect is clearly visible in the heavily descriptive storytelling that leaves one pondering about life, at large.
With a plethora of themes woven intricately with a narrative that is simply poetic, Nadya A. R. manages to leave a lasting impression on the reader. Ranging from the Mughal theme of the Kohinoor (name sake of Noor), surrendering herself to an arranged marriage with Meekal in the Sheesh Mahal (where the real Kohinoor was surrendered to the British), to the Feng Shui theme where Noor and Meekal are perfect Yin and Yang, Invisible Ties makes an engaging read. Not to forget the lives of expats and labourers in countries like Singapore and Malaysia which have been brought to life so beautifully by the author. It is interesting to observe how the author has juxtaposed the best of what life has to offer in terms of money and luxuries with the emptiness of the soul and lack of contentment.
All throughout the story you will find traces of food, tradition and culture liberally sprinkled in the descriptions, making it all a rich tapestry of emotions and experiences, for a reader to devour. Invisible Ties is a powerfully written and richly layered novel, and reading it is an experience in itself.
Namrata is a lost wanderer who loves travelling the length and breadth of the world. She lives amidst sepia toned walls, fuchsia curtains, fairy lights and shelves full of books. When not buried between the pages of a book, she loves blowing soap bubbles. A published author she enjoys capturing the magic of life in her words and is always in pursuit of a new country and a new story. Connect with her on Twitter: @PrivyTrifles
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