Threads of Life: A Novel

Threads of Life: A Novel

Threads of Life: A Novel
A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle
Clare Hunter

In 1970s Argentina, mothers marched in headscarves embroidered with the names of their “disappeared” children. In Tudor, England, when Mary, Queen of Scots, was under house arrest, her needlework carried her messages to the outside world. From the political propaganda of the Bayeux Tapestry, World War I soldiers coping with PTSD, and the maps sewn by schoolgirls in the New World, to the AIDS quilt, Hmong story clothes, and pink pussyhats, women and men have used the language of sewing to make their voices heard, even in the most desperate of circumstances. 

Threads of Life is a chronicle of identity, protest, memory, power, and politics told through the stories of needlework. Clare Hunter, master of the craft, threads her own narrative as she takes us over centuries and across continents—from medieval France to contemporary Mexico and the United States, and from a POW camp in Singapore to a family attic in Scotland—to celebrate the age-old, universal, and underexplored beauty and power of sewing. Threads of Life is an evocative and moving book about the need we have to tell our story. 

Praise for Threads of Life

"Threads of Life is a beautifully considered book that reminds us of how much sewing plays a curcial part in expressing the many facets of our lives. Clare Hunter has managed to mix the personal with the political with moving results." -Tracy Chevalier, New York Times-bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring "An astonishing feat, this patchwork of history, culture,  and politics, which takes us from Saxon England to  colonized African tribes, Palestinian villages, rural China,  and the cramped homes of American slaves... Hunter  writes in clear, sometimes lyrical prose and knows just  the detail to bring the story alive. Her highly  impressive debut is a richly textured and moving record  of history that has largely been lost." -The Sunday Times

"Hunter's nonfiction debut reframes needlework as a powerful and political medium... Threads of Life is a compelling and beautifully written account of how marinalised peoples throughout history have used the language of sewing, embroidery, and textiles to tell their neglected stories."-The Bookseller

"Triumphant... Crammed with vivid anecdotes and  colorful snippets of fascinating information, Hunter's  debut is an inspiration to anyone who has ever thought  of picking up a needle and thread." -The Mail on Sunday