The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao

Review published on November 18, 2017.

I positively raced through this novel, which tells the tale of two sisters in 1940s Brazil. Guida, the elder sister, elopes when she is young and goes on to live a scandalous and unconventional life. Meanwhile, Euridice offers her life up to others – first as a dutiful daughter and then as a good wife and mother. With no other outlet for her extraordinary intelligence, she expresses her brilliance through various domestic projects that are thwarted, one by one, by her husband. Cue the reappearance of Guida.

While the subject matter may sound a little gloomy, this isn’t The Bell Jar. There is nothing vaguely depressing about this novel. Batalha tells her story with real wit and zest and it was the vibrant tone of the book that really kept me gripped. Guida and Euridice are wonderful, fully-fleshed protagonists and are supported by a colourful and amusing secondary cast of characters.

For me, one of the delights of this novel is the way Guida and Euridice subtly use their wiles to fight against the restrictions that they face. Ultimately, this is not a tortured tale of thwarted creativity but a quirky celebration of the resilience and ingenuity of women. Every woman should read it!

Kathryn Cope 4/4

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao
Oneworld Publications 9781786072986 pbk Sep 2017

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