An image of the antique hand mirror on the book’s jacket intrigued us and made us pick up Nadya A R’s novel — Invisible Ties. As we read, we realised that the hand mirror is the ‘mirror’ to Noor’s (the protagonist) thoughts and feelings. Set in the ’90s Pakistan, Invisible Ties describes the journey of Noor Kamal, an introvert, timid, overprotected girl, who grows up to be an independent, self-reliant woman in a foreign land.
Brought up in an upper class family of Karachi, Noor spends most of her childhood accompanied by caretakers and house helps; she never has any friends. But an antique jade mirror from her mother’s collection catches Noor’s eye, and becomes her ultimate support.
Later in life, Noor marries a Singapore-settled investment banker Meekaal, as per her parents’ will. The plot of the book travels to different countries — Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore and United Kingdom. And, so lot of historical and cultural references creep into the story, deviating the reader from the main plot. Nadya has also spent a lot of time describing the clothes worn by Noor and all the other characters in the novel, which is unnecessary. Not every attire needs that amount of attention. There is a lot of description about what Noor is doing, what she is wearing, what is she eating. But what’s going inside her mindscape, a peek into her soul, would make the readers connect more with the protagonist.