'Invisible Threads', by Lucy Beresford - Review

By Rhodes, Emily | The Spectator, June 13, 2015 | Go to article overview

'Invisible Threads', by Lucy Beresford - Review


Rhodes, Emily, The Spectator


Invisible Threads Lucy Beresford

Quartet, pp.240, £15, ISBN: 9780704373853

When Sara discovers that her husband died in India, rather than being killed in Afghanistan as she was told, she travels to Delhi to uncover the circumstances of his death. On the surface, Invisible Threads is a novel about an English woman on a personal journey to India, and comes with many of the trappings we'd expect. Lucy Beresford describes the country's assault on her protagonist's senses and observes the seeming contradictions of poverty, such as when Sara sees a barefooted beggar -- her 'hair is matted, her turquoise sari filthy, but she is carrying a mobile phone'. Sara also finds India to be palpably erotic, imagining how a sari 'could be peeled off by a lover in a matter of seconds', and it comes as no surprise when she lusts after her Indian driver, who is also a skilled sitar player.

This is, however, the misleadingly light surface of a dark and powerful book. Sara, like her author, is a psychotherapist -- a profession dedicated to understanding the deeper issues behind our superficial behaviour. The deeper issue of Invisible Threads is the terrible position of girls and women in India, and Beresford skilfully weaves visceral examples of their plight into Sara's experience while she is there investigating her husband's death.

Sara's first patient in Delhi is an 18-year-old whose family wanted to burn her to death when her 64-year-old husband, who she married when she was 11, died. …

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