Review: ‘Invisible Ties’ by Nadya A.R.

Before reviewing this wonderful read, Invisible Ties, by Pakistani novelist Nadya A.R., I would like to share how I came across this novel. Well coincidences still happen. Recently, I had the pleasure of attending LLF 2018 (Lahore Literary Festival, Pakistan) which is truly one of the best literary festivals South Asia has to offer after JLF (Jaipur Literary Festival, India).

I attended LLF 2018 primarily to attend the two different sessions of my favorite Indian novelist and Bollywood star Shobhaa De on the second day of the Literary Festival. Shobhaa’s first session was a double treat because I the opportunity to attend the launch of the novel Invisible Ties. Shobhaa was there to moderate. I had a great time there and the stimulating discussion by Shobhaa and Nadya on Invisible Ties really prompted me to get my hands on this enthralling novel. I finally procured a signed copy from the novelist herself with her best wishes. I am eternally grateful to her. I immensely relished reading Invisible Ties and analyzing each and every aspect of it before deciding to write this review.

Invisible Ties showcases a journey full of conflicting emotions and moods of a Karachiite girl, Noor Kamal. Her journey is a saga of love and longing against a rich contrasting background. The different stages of her life have been beautifully encapsulated with a rich imagery and the use of a mélange of adjectives and verbs.

The writer has chosen a non-linear structure for her novel as it is divided into three parts. The first part covers Noor’s traumatic experiences in Malacca where she is in a search of her beloved late Uncle Joseph and while searching for him she meets the guard (in the guise of a taxi driver) who not just murdered Joseph but also abducted Noor’s mother Daisy for a while.

The second part of the novel showcases the details primarily pertaining to Noor’s childhood in Karachi. The second part also introduces the plot and reveals Noor’s restless soul and mind through several mediums like her unabated infatuation with the antique jade mirror she stole from her mother. She finds refuge in this mirror throughout the novel. Noor’s relationships with her parents are also revealed.

The third and last part of the novel divulges key details about what Noor has gone through after a gawky childhood. This part introduces several characters including those who will continue to shape Noor’s life in a profound manner. The author uses a clever technique of choosing to give the characters names that seem to affect their personalities in profound ways.

The major intriguing themes and use of symbolism captivate and hold the reader’s interest in the characters throughout the novel as we learn to understand Noor.

I wholeheartedly recommend Invisible Ties to all readers and also hope that Bollywood and Lollywood producers and directors will soon make a movie based on this wonderful novel, Invisible Ties, for audiences to enjoy all around the world.