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A God in Every Stone

A God in Every Stone [Kindle Edition]

Kamila Shamsie
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Into the ranks of international voices steps Kamila Shamsie, who seems as if she has heard, and listened to, the music of what surrounds us Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin A work of art, as human as the feel of another's hand Peter Carey, Observer Books of the Year (on Burnt Shadows) One of the inexplicable omissions from the Man Booker shortlist, Shamsie's astonishing story of love and survival is set against some of modern history's defining moments, from the Nagasaki bomb and Indian partition to the war in Afghanistan Financial Times Books of the Year My favourite book of the year has to be Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie ... Shamsie achieves the near impossibility of a truly intimate epic tale ... I challenge anyone to put this book down lightly or not to identify with at least one of its many flawed and yet irresistibly human characters Shami Chakrabarti, Observer Books of the Year Couldn't put it down -- Sarah Brown Mslexia A writer of immense ambition and strength. She understands a great deal about the ways in which the world's many tragedies and histories shape one another, and about how human beings can try to avoid being crushed by their fate and can discover their humanity, even in the fiercest combat zones of the age. Burnt Shadows is an absorbing novel that commands, in the reader, a powerful emotional and intellectual response -- Salman Rushdie Burnt Shadows is audacious in its ambition, epic in its scope. A startling expansion of the author's intentions, imagination and craftsmanship -- Anita Desai An arresting achievement, combining an extraordinary heroine, an exceptional set of circumstances and an almost Forsterian ear for the inadvertent comedy of cashing cultures . [an] absorbing, multi-layered novel -- Amanda Craig Literary Review In this brilliant book Kamila Shamsie opens a vista onto the century we're have just lived through - pointing out its terror and its solace. She is so extraordinary a writer that she also offers hints about the century we are living through -- Nadeem Aslam (author of Maps for Lost Lovers) Through its succession of seemingly disparate, acutely observed worlds, Burnt Shadows reveals the shared histories, hinting at larger tragedies through individual loss . Any reader anticipating a predictable yarn about the radicalisation of Islamist youth may feel cheated. Far more, I suspect, will feel challenged and enlightened, possibly provoked, and undoubtedly enriched -- Maya Jaggi Guardian Beautifully written, poignant and moving Easy Living The most ambitious novel yet by this talented writer. In Burnt Shadows, Kamila Shamsie casts her imagination remarkably far and wide, through time and across continents -- Mohsin Hamid Shamsie calls upon her considerable command of disciplined irony to examine how we arrived at where we are now, this beaten planet . This is book of our times and the legacy of global guilt -- Eileen Battersby Irish Times Into the ranks of international voices steps Kamile Shamsie, who seems as if she has heard, and listened, to the music of what surrounds us -- Colum McCann This book will live with me for ever ... What spoke to me in this story is the need in all of us to carry our own sense of self and purpose, even as the world around us changes at such a furious pace -- Sarah Brown Elle A thing of real beauty ... I was entirely swept up in the story, and I feel, now that I've (so reluctantly) put it down, that I have travelled the world and the past six decades with Hiroko and her family -- Tahmima Anam, author of A Golden Age This is history writ large, made indelible. A chain of cause and consequence, link upon link, step by inexorable step, towards the novel's conclusion is instantly forged ... The ending [set in the months after 9/11] is full of the high emotion, misunderstanding, grief and confusion that were so raw and rife and inevitable then -- Tom Adair The Scotsman A stunning book that encapsulates the troubled times we live in -- Emma Lee-Potter Daily Express Completely authentic, complex and breath-stopping -- Emma Thompson

Book Description

A stunning new novel from the Granta Best of Young British, Orange shortlisted author of Burnt Shadows

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 845 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1408847213
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (10 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #72,555 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is a delight. It is an evocatively written, highly intelligent, multi layered novel. It is constantly surprising, with a narrative frequently changing direction, making reading it a bit like herding the proverbial cats.

The story opens with Vivian Rose Spencer, a young Englishwoman, fascinated by archaeology, working on a dig in Turkey with German and Turkish academics on the eve of World War I. As she works she gradually becomes aware of a mutual attraction with one of her workmates. The writing makes the relationship stunningly erotic whilst also remaining chaste. Before things can progress, global conflict catches fire and Viv is returned to London where she becomes a nurse caring for wounded soldiers.

The second main chord of the narrative is introduced in the form of Qayyum Gul, a soldier in the Indian army fighting on the Western Front. Initially patriotic towards the imperial power, his experiences slowly open his reluctant eyes to the reality of his situation.

The two tales intersect fleetingly as Viv and Qayyum meet briefly on a train travelling to Peshawar, she in search of her lost love, he returning home.

As Viv meets and becomes mentor to a young boy, the story moves on from World War I to being a tale of the struggle for Indian independence.

At the basic level, this is the story of Viv's search for her lover, and for a lost artefact, of Qayyums journey from empire loyalist to rebel, and of the young boy, Najeeb's intellectual development. Shamsie uses these tales to explore themes of imperialism, of individual morality, of gender politics and of personal and political betrayal in both the 20th century and in the ancient world.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative setting 6 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had not read any of this author's work before. I did think initially that I wasn't going to get into this book; Viv and the way the story seemed to be heading didn't appeal. However, once the action moved to WW1 and the Indian soldiers my interest perked up, and when the story reached Peshawar I was pulled into the beautifully realised background, if not able to muster up very much interest in the characters. Peshawar came alive for me and for a while it was one of those stories that made me really feel I was there. I also enjoyed the historical background to a period I knew very little about.
The archeological story, of the hunt for an ancient circlet, I found much less interesting, and most of the characters, except for Viv when first in India and one of the Pathans as a boy, did not grip me at all.
I think the book deserves four stars for its setting and its history, but I found the ending rather muddled and the characters did not stay with me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Peshawar comes to life 6 Aug 2014
This is a BIG and complex novel – moving from an archaeological dig in Turkey in early 1914, across the first year of the 1st World War, and through into Peshawar in both 1915 and again in 1930. It is also pretty challenging on one’s knowledge of ancient Persian mythology…(did you know that the Caspatyrus of mythology is modern day Peshawar? Or that Syclax betrayed Darius, the Emperor of Persia, and sided with the Carians against the Persians?). In Shamsie’s version of the story, Syclax has a valuable circlet given to him by Darius and the circlet then subsequently disappears. The search for its rediscovery is central to the storyline of A God in Every Stone.

The constant throughout the story is Vivien Spencer. Before the outbreak of the War, the young Viv went on an archaeological dig in Labraunda, Turkey. She was an ‘intern’ working with Turkish archaeologist, Tahsin Bey, a quite old (in both senses…) friend of her father’s. Bey’s ‘Holy Grail’ was to rediscover the circlet that Darius had given to Syclax. She fell in love with Bey (and he with her), but they were separated when war broke out. Viv worked for a short while in London as a nurse looking after the war wounded until she received a ‘coded’ Christmas card from Bey suggesting that she visit Peshawar where he hoped to join her. She (with difficulty) persuaded her parents to let her go and set off into the unknown.

The second theme of the story develops in parallel. Qayyum, a Pashtun soldier, is wounded fighting with the 40th Pathans at Ypres. He loses an eye, is invalided out of the army, and sent back to his native Peshawar. On the last part of his journey home he shares a railway compartment with Viv. Viv, when she arrives at the station in Peshawar, is befriended by a local boy called Najeeb.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite Shamsie's best 10 Aug 2014
By M. K. Burton VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In July 1914, Vivian Rose Spencer is a twenty-two year old young woman who has finally been given permission to go on her first archaeological expedition. In the shadow of coming war, she falls in love and is forced back to England, where her life seems on hold until she's not sure how it can continue. At the same time, Qayyum Gul is fighting in the war, losing an eye at Ypres. He and Vivian meet once, unaware how their lives will change around each other, until fifteen years later their fates are united again in the search for a historic artifact and a second fight for independence.

This review has been difficult to start writing. I didn't feel the way I expected to after reading this book. Burnt Shadows was powerful. It left an impression on me and it took a long time to get out of my head. I mean, I read it nearly five years ago and I still have feelings about it. By contrast, I finished A God in Every Stone towards the end of July and I'm struggling to recall any feelings I had towards it besides indifference.

I think part of the reason I didn't appreciate it so much was because I didn't get on very well with the main character. Viv irritated me. Unfortunately I think I am one of those readers who generally has to at least sympathize a little bit with the main characters in a book to actually enjoy the book itself; this isn't always the case, but I couldn't really recover from a decision she makes towards the beginning of the book. The very beginning of the book seemed like it would be perfect for me - an archaeological expedition, a burgeoning love story, and the shifting uncertainty caused by the approach of war.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Please don't waste your life reading this book. Totally disappointing.
Published 1 month ago by Anna Weir
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Fine condition etc. Did not rate this book as much as the reviews did
Published 1 month ago by vickih
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written, evocative book which captures the contradictory...
A beautifully written, evocative book which captures the contradictory cultures of the peoples of the North West Frontier and the British Raj and the problematics of both... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dr. Richard Rathbone
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Peshawar
I had been looking forward to reading this novel & I was not disappointed as its easily one of the very best that I have read this year. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Diandri
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Published 2 months ago by jacqueline
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, different and well written
I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure if I would at the start but I quickly became involved with the characters and wanted to know more about them.
Published 2 months ago by EBS
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the World in World War I
In a year when there are many historical novels about World War I and its repercussions, Kamila Shamsie’s latest book stands out for several reasons. Read more
Published 3 months ago by elkiedee
4.0 out of 5 stars India and it's past is brought into the minds of us readers....
A God in Every Stone written by Kamila Shamsie for me was a book which brought India alive through wonderful descriptive writing, not only through the savages of war but how India... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Petra "I love to read"
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
For once a novel which lives up to expectations and exceeds the hype. I'm not sure what I can add to praise already lavished on it by other reviewers (and whatever you do, ignore... Read more
Published 3 months ago by D. P. Mankin
4.0 out of 5 stars EMOTIONS STIRRED
Spanning almost two and a half thousand centuries, here is the tale of a circlet and the emotions it inspires. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. D. L. Rees
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