I received Invisible Ties by Nadya AR as a review copy from the publisher and would like to thank them for the same. This book is the story of a girl, Noor Kamal, from Pakistan.
As Karachi burned in the 1990s, the painfully shy Noor Kamal found refuge in an antique jade mirror she stole from Daisy Kamal, her social butterfly mother. One fateful day, the violence hits home as a motley crew of burglars storm the Kamal residence, killing Joseph, the faithful driver who tried to shield Noor, and kidnapping Daisy.
Traumatized by the turn of events and succumbing to familial pressure, Noor reluctantly agrees to start life afresh in Singapore as the wife of Meekaal Kalim, an investment banker. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Noor finds succour in studying psychotherapy.
Her attempt to heal others brings her close to Ella, her neighbour, and Jake, a handsome American who is struggling to deal with his emotional breakdown. As she tries to exorcise ghosts from the past and break free from the shackles, where will this quest take Noor? Would she be able to liberate herself from her strong cultural values and ties?
A saga of love and longing, against a rich contrasting background, Invisible Ties is sure to appeal to readers.
Noor Kamal is the daughter of Daisy, a social butterfly and Kamal, who worked overtime for a prominent multinational company and struggled every day to stay afloat. She is fascinated with her mother’s bottle green jade mirror. When she is three, she steals it from her mother creating a secure base for herself. She relies on the mirror to voice her fears and overcome the inadequacies of her childhood. Though her father comes home late in the evening, still he understands her more than her mother who has hired maids to look after Noor. Her mother monitors her activities and the frequency of her conversations with the mirror.
She is particularly close to their driver, Joseph, whom she calls Uncle Joseph. One day, when Noor is on the way back from college with Uncle Joseph and the security guard, there is a planned robbery at their home and her mother is kidnapped.
Her mother’s sister, Aunt Lily, who lives in Malaysia comes calling. She also has a proposal for Noor. She mentions that an eligible bachelor, Meekal Kalim, who works in a highly reputable investment bank in Singapore, is smitten by Noor’s picture and is a suitable match for Noor. She, being in her early twenties and he, in his thirties.
Noor initially refuses but then agrees to marrying Meekal who leaves Karachi immediately after their wedding and sends for her some days later. She is surprised to see that there is no one to receive her at Singapore but finally takes a cab and goes to Meekal’s home. There her mother-in-law, dominating lady, insists that she call her Aunty Banu. It is then that Noor realises that Meekal had married her to be an unpaid full-time nurse, maid and companion to his mother.
All this while, her jade mirror is with her a witness to all her problems. She decides to take a course in psychotherapy and meets Ella, who works as a real estate agent and they become good friends. Through Ella, she meets Jake, an American who has been cheated by his girlfriend and is now out of job.
The book has been divided into three parts. The story has been written beautifully and the characters seem to jump out of the pages. The strength of Noor’s character has been portrayed beautifully. The book has detailed descriptions and a lot of Mughal History.
But the end left me wanting for more. Maybe there would be a sequel to the book…..
All said and done, the book is a must read for its poetic and lyrical language.