The Braid by Laetitio Colombani Translated by Louise Rogers Lalaurie

1. First lines of the three chapters that introduce each character. 2. Published 2019 Gale. First published in French as “La Tresse” by Editions Grasset & Fasquelle, Paris. 2017. Also published by Pan Macmillan and Simon & Schuster 3. Hair [CC0 Public Domain] via PxHere 4. Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856–1931), Portrait of Tiziana Fazoli from Taormina, 1908. Catalogue number 273 in the bigger size catalogue (cm 27 x 38). [Public Domain] via Wikimedia 5. Women By Thessaly La Force [CC BY-SA 2.0] via flickr Changes: cropped, colour removed, semi-transparent layer over the top. 6. Business lady. [CC0] By pxfuel
Beautifully written; cleverly plotted; satisfying ending.

This is the story of three women in different parts of the world who never meet. The connections between them are woven together when each woman has to face an enormous challenge in her life. Smita lives in a small village in India. Her family is barely scraping a living by doing the lowliest of jobs in the community. She wants her daughter to go to school to give her the chance to break away from the life they lead. Sarah is an ambitious lawyer, who drives herself to work hard. When she is diagnosed with cancer, she tries to hide it for fear of losing out on promotions. Giulia works in her father’s factory which makes wigs from human hair. He has a terrible accident and Giulia finds out that the business is in trouble.

  • Kirkus: “An impeccably crafted love letter to the oft-unseen and ignored work of women across the world.”
  • Publishers Weekly: “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.”

“Sarah had become her cancer. She was her own tumor personified. No one saw the brilliant, elegant, high performance, forty-something woman, only the embodiment of her illness. To them, she was no longer a lawyer who happened to be ill, she was a walking illness that happened to be a lawyer. It was an important difference.”

“Beside the road, makeshift shacks, a petrol station, a school, the wrecks of small trucks and vans, chairs beneath an ancient tree, a ramshackle market, traders sitting on the ground, a shop renting the latest motor scooters. A lake, warehouses, a ruined temple, bill-boards, women in saris carrying baskets on their heads, a tractor. All India is there, by the side of this road, she thinks. An indescribable chaos of ancient and modern, pure and impure, sacred and profane.”

Other editions.

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