Smita, Giulia, Sarah: three lives, three continents, three women with nothing in common, but nevertheless bound by a rare expression of courage . . . like three strands in a braid. Through the story of one woman’s hair, three women’s destinies are drawn together.
India. Smita is an untouchable, married to a ‘rat hunter’, her job to clean with her bare hands the village latrines, just like her mother before her. Her dream is to see her daughter escape this same fate, and learn to read. When this hope is shattered, she decides to run away with the child, despite her husband’s warnings, sacrificing what is most precious to her: her hair.
Sicily. Giulia is a worker in her father’s wig workshop, the last of its kind in Palermo. She classifies, washes, bleaches, and dyes the hair provided by the city’s hairdressers. When her father is the victim of a serious accident, she quickly discovers the family company is bankrupt.
Canada. Sarah is a reputed lawyer. As a twice-divorced mother of three children, she ploughs through cases at breakneck speed. Just as she is about to be promoted, she learns she has breast cancer. Her seemingly perfect existence begins to show its cracks . . . But this is only if one ignores the incredible lust for life that keeps her going.
Laetitia Colombani’s The Braid is the powerfully moving story of three women’s courage in the face of adversity.
In the media
A screenwriter and director, Laetitia Colombani is clearly a master of the art of storytelling and editing. She creates female characters with strong personalities, whose lives she interweaves in a hopeful vision. But her writing is sensitive and restrained enough to save the novel from any accusation that it’s nothing more than a ‘feel good’ book.
We truly loved reading this beautiful, simple novel in one sitting, with characters who teach or remind us of the all too often unacceptable conditions in which women around the world live.