In this unforgettable international bestseller, three women from very different circumstances around the world find their lives intertwined by a single object and discover what connects us—across cultures, across backgrounds, and across borders.
In India, Smita is an untouchable. Desperate to give her daughter an education, she takes her child and flees her small village with nothing but resourcefulness, eventually heading to a temple where she will experience a rebirth.
In Sicily, Giulia works in her father’s wig workshop, the last of its kind in Palermo. She washes, bleaches, and dyes the hair provided by the city’s hairdressers, which is now in short supply. But when her father is the victim of a serious accident, she discovers that the company’s financial situation is dire. Now she must find a way to save her family’s livelihood.
In Canada, Sarah is a successful lawyer and twice-divorced mother of three children whose identity is wrapped up in her work. Just as she expects a big promotion, her life is shattered when she’s diagnosed with cancer.
A moving novel of hope and renewal, The Braid is a celebration of womanhood and the power of connection and perseverance.
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.