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Under The Visible Life

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  769 ratings  ·  149 reviews
Fatherless Katherine carries the stigma of her mixed-race background through an era that is hostile to her and all she represents. It is only through music that she finds the freedom to temporarily escape and dream of a better life for herself, nurturing this hard-won refuge throughout the vagaries of unexpected motherhood and an absent husband, and relying on her talent t ...more
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Hamish Hamilton Canada (first published March 1st 2015)
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  769 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Notes to self: to read, and read again.

I've lived this life, in many respects. And Echlin's got it right. All the details. All the nuances. All the sad, happy business of living under the visible life.

The places are exact. The music is authentic. I recognize all the characters -- in fact, I know many of them as players in my own life.

Katherine and Mahsa's friendship is the line that connects me to my best friends, for I have more-than-one Katherine-Mahsa friendship in my life, as many of
Briar's Reviews
Under The Visible Life is a moving story by Kim Echlin that will knock your socks off!

To be blunt and up-front, this book was not the book for me. That being said, it was a truly mesmerizing story! It was very hard for me to get into this book but it was still beautiful nonetheless. I want to say that upfront since my rating is based off my opinion of the book (and I wasn't pulled into the book) but the story is still a worthwhile read! I am sure many other readers will be able to connect with t
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, buy, up-all-night, gratis

Under the visible life, is a beautiful and complicated novel that touches the heart. The story is told through two narratives. I am normally not a fan of duel narratives but it works well in this novel. I did prefer Katherine's character, but Mahsa's narrative was good for adding drama and thoughtful dialogues. Some parts were tough to read due to the character's struggles, but I still couldn't put it down. Top notch book.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Buy

Note: I received this book for free in exch
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a GoodReads first reads giveaway, which I won in March. The publisher provided an uncorrected proof, but no one has attempted to influence my opinion in any way.

"Patience is bitter, but it has a sweet fruit."

. These are the struggles than women all over the planet have to deal with every day. Being taken seriously as professionals. Juggling marriages, children, housework, careers. Getting stuck doing all the stuff that no one else wants to do.

But that makes this book sound pe
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lett-canadese, sfide
"Una nota è un suono, due note una canzone".

Due donne (anzi, due bambine, due ragazze, due donne), le loro storie, le loro vite: i genitori, l’educazione, il sesso, l’amore, la maternità, le difficoltà, i sacrifici; ad accomunarle la passione per la musica jazz e per il pianoforte.
Un libro scritto con grazia, sensibilità e rispetto, caratterizzato da una prosa semplice, sincera, seducente, che si attacca al cuore e stringe, stringe, stringe…

Per vivere, bisogna rischia
Jennifer (aka EM)
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: maple-flavoured
An outstanding book. so under the radar in 2015 - why? WHY? Echlin writes straight from the heart. Straight, clean, unencumbered-with-clauses-or-literary-embellishments sentences that pour out raw emotion onto the page. And it's a slow build - it feels, sometimes, like these easy, basic sentences, paragraphs, chapters can't possibly do such heavy lifting. Until she drops a phrase or ends a chapter or turns the plot and you are whomped by the depth of what she's saying, the artistry of what she's ...more
انتهيت من أجمل القراءات هذه السنة.

قرأتها خلسة بما اني اتخذت قراراً غبياً في الامتناع عن القراءة في شهر رمضان لكن الكلام سهل !

الرواية تحتاج ريفيو من اشخاص ملمين في المراجعات والاكيد مو انا.

والغريب قلة المراجعات العربية عنها ؟

مختصر الرواية عن حياة المرأة في الشرق والغرب ومهما اختلفنا تظل المرأة اساس الكفاح والتضحيات.

Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There is something so compelling about the way this story explores the intersections between friendship, motherhood, career and love. There are these moments that are so perfectly described, where everyday life gives way to explosions of joy or rage. It's remarkable.
Mona Saboni
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
منذ زمن بعيد لم تحركني الكلمات كما فعلت كلمات هذه الرواية..
لي عودة
Dale White
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of Under The Visible Life by Kim Echlin through Goodreads give away and I am glad I did; otherwise I would be unlikely to have read this book which I quite enjoyed. The story is told in alternately chapters through the eyes of two women who eventually meet, spanning the years from the '40s through the '80s with stops in Pakistan, Hamilton, Montreal and New York.

Katherine of mixed Chinese and Caucasian heritage grows up in Hamilton with her single mom. She is driven by her
Ali ghoneim
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
أحيانآ لا ننظر للحب بأنه مشروع مستقبلى ،، إذا أحسنت فيه البدايه فيتوجب عليك أن تُحسن النهايه ،،ولكن ما نعيشه هو العكس نحن نعيش ونستمتع بالحب فى البدايه بقدر المستطاع ،، وننسى مخاطر ومحطات القادمه التى سوف تزين الحب الى أن يحتكم ملك الموت فى أمر نهايته
النجاح هو القيام بالشئ الذى تحبه ،، ولكن المتعه هو ان تشارك هذا النجاح مع من تحبه
إبحث عن شيئين العمل الذى تجد فيه ذاتك والحب الذى يدعم هذا الذات
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
رائعة ومخيفة جدا ..
كيف للحياة أن تكون بهذه القسوة في وجه أبسط أحلامنا ؟! أيلزمنا كل هذا العذاب والتضحية ؟؟
مخيفة وواقعية إلى أقصى حد بطريقة آسرة ومبهرة جدا
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Wendy by: Goodreads/First Reads
One of the most compelling and thought-provoking contemporary stories I've read this year is "Under the Visible Life" which I won through Goodreads/First Reads. It begins with two women, Katherine and Mahsa whose musical aspirations and collaboration fuse their diverse lives and mixed ethnicity into an enduring friendship. In a story of joy and loss, of victory and defeat Kim Echlin explores friendship, love, family and career that brings laughter and tears.

Set in an era from the late 40's to th
Tahani Shihab
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“إذا سُرقت أحلامكِ، فقد سُرقت حياتكِ بأكملها”.

كيم إكلين.

Nicole Laverdure
Feb 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story!
Under The Visible Life is a powerful story filled with strong emotions. Very well written, by new-to-me author Kim Echlin! This author nicely blended her rich characters Katherine and Mahsa into this beautiful story of friendship and the bonds that held them together. Fatherless Katherine and orphaned Mahsa, share a mutual interest, the love of music. Their lives will intertwine and their art will forever change their destiny and the friends that shared their lives.
This story is
Xondra Day
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads, india
* ARC via Goodreads First Reads and the publisher *

Excellent book!

This is the story of two women. Katherine and Mahsa come from very different backgrounds, but one thing they have in common is their love of the piano and jazz music.

The story is told from each of their point of views and spans years. In time they eventually end up meeting and become best friends.

Their stories are heartbreaking at times and at other times uplifting. This book is truly both a tale of resilience and survival. It's
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
* I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads first reads*

There was lots to enjoy about this book. Both of the main characters had heart-breaking yet optimistic story lines that give you lots to think about. I found Mahsa's early life especially interesting. However, this was billed as a book about friendship, and I never really got a good feel for their friendship since there were so few scenes with the two women interacting. It almost read like two separate (albeit excellent) stories.
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I loved this book. Well-written, haunting, and the characters stay with you long after you finish the book. The characters were so well-developed that they seemed like real people. The two main characters come from totally different backgrounds, but are still brought together, and the novel pulls you in and makes you want to keep reading and turning the pages. Nicely paced, well-written, and totally absorbing.
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. The characters, the atmosphere will all resonate with you and stay with you long after you finish reading. The research the author did for this book is incredibly and so illuminating. The books deserves it's own jazz soundtrack, it's that good!
John Gillies
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is a splendid novel. The story of these two women, and how their love of playing jazz and the love for their families, intertwine is very compelling.
Denise Berube
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received Under The Visible Life from Goodreads First Reads. This was a beautiful, inspiring and at times sorrowful read about a friendship that blooms from the love of music.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written heartbreaker about two women with parallel lives. Kim Echlin is a gifted writer: a poet in the body of a novelist.
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I won this book through Goodreads.Kim Echlin is a local author.
"Under the Visible Life" is the story of two woman, born on the opposite sides of the globe,but united through their love of music. Katherine, the daughter of a Caucasian mother and a Chinese father, suffers because of this background. She was born during the times, when mixed marriage was frowned upon. The authorities even took her away from her mother and sent her mother for "treatment". Her father fled to China.Her mother eventual
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Booktrail the locations here : Under The Visible Life locations

1940s to present: The story of two women, various moves to new countries and a mix of various cultures – and the one unifying force: Music.

The cover and the blurb do not do this book justice in my opinion. This is one heck of a novel and an amazing tribute to all the Mahsa’s and Katherines of this world, to the Jazz greats and to the beauty of language and music.

This is also a novel which got me in many powerful ways – the mix of cul
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
review also found at

3.5 stars

** I won a copy of this book as part of a giveaway on Goodreads. In exchange I will give my honest opinion**

I found this book to be very interesting. Featuring two women who are trying to follow their passions and have to struggle with being different. I also enjoyed how both women were very different from each other yet had similar dreams and how their paths crossed to have their lives intertwined.

First there is Katherine w
Lisa Ann
*** This Review Is Based On a First-Reads Good-Reads ARC Free Review Copy. ***

A remarkably insightful novel crafted with care, weaving two stories into one. Under The Visible Life is the story of two women, who seem to come from two very different worlds. Mahsa, an Afghani-American Orphan who emigrates to Montreal as a young woman; and Katherine, the child of an absent Chinese Father and teenage Caucasian Mother growing up in Toronto adjacent Hamilton, Ontario.

Both women have fascinating and for
Patricia Levack
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading my free copy of Under the Visible Life from Goodreads, I at first thought, not for me. Using words from a language I'm not familiar with, music I don't know anything worthwhile about made for a slow start. Mahsa and Katherine made me change my mind.
They were brought together through their talent and love of Jazz. What for me was a minor interest except in the fact that it brought them together.
Both from a background mixed parents and how that affected their lives. Mahsa's lost of her A
Pam Rivera
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Although I found this book difficult to get into during the first part, the second part sucked me in and part three wouldn't let me go.

It's a story of family, love, loss, betrayal, sacrifice. It's a story about chasing your dreams, finding your way, and remaining true to yourself. It's romantic, tragic, hopeful and resentful.

Katherine and Mahsa come from very different backgrounds, but through friendship and their shared love of jazz music, they each discover a way to come to terms with their
Judy LeBlanc
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story, reminiscent of the Secret Daughter. Two women their lives, families and the shared love of jazz. Well written, sad to see it end.
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Kim Echlin was born in Burlington, Ontario. After completing a doctoral thesis on Ojibway story-telling, she travelled in search of stories through the Marshall Islands, China, France, and Zimbabwe. On her return to Canada she became an arts documentary producer with CBC's The Journal, and a writer for various publications.

Her first novel, Elephant Winter, won the TORGI Talking Book of the Year A
“-أن تعيش، يعني أن تخاطر بحصول كارثة ما. و أن تتخلى عن الطرق القديمة لخلق شيء جديد.” 0 likes
“-"استمري في السعي، فإذا سُرقت أحلامك، فقد سرقت حياتك بأكملها".” 0 likes
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