cover image The Braid

The Braid

Laetitia Colombani. Atria, $16 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-9821-3003-9

Colombani’s arresting debut follows three women facing extreme challenges in three different parts of the world. Smita, near 30 years old, lives in contemporary India, where she’s of the untouchable caste, forced to clean the excrement from neighbors’ latrines. In a parallel story, 20-year-old Giulia is in Sicily, and although she loves working with her father in his wig shop, the world of traditional goods is beginning to crumble. Lastly, 40-year-old Sarah is a lawyer in Montreal, and her obsessive work habits drive her body to a debilitating illness that she tries to conceal from the firm where she has become the first female partner. Suspense builds for each of these women as they struggle to make decisions in the face of their harsh realities. Intriguing strands connect the three: Smita’s only offering to her god can be the magnificent hair shorn from her own and her daughter’s head, young Giulia must expand the family business to an international market, and Sarah needs an exquisite wig when cancer takes her hair. A sense of urgency to learn how the stories will be resolved drives the fast-paced narrative. Each character’s intimate perspective elucidates the courage that exists in every woman’s life, regardless of age, culture, or station.[em] (Sept.) [/em]