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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars8
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 13 July 2005
Shamsie's 4th novel, published by Bloomsbury in 2005, is a splendid one, a beautiful read, and a continuation and development of Shamsie's distinctive and charming writing voice.
Shamsie is a Pakistani author, who consistently presents Pakistani society as a highly complex, attractive, mind-boggling, sophisticated society, cramed with distinctive and memorable characters.
The engaging and intelligent protagonist of Broken Verses, Aasmaani, is not unlike the protagonist of Kartography (Shamsie's 3rd novel), Raheen, in her wit, emotional independence, fierce loyalties, wry humour, privileged social status.
The storyline is based on Aasmaani not being able to know whether her mother and her mother's soulmate and lover, called The Poet, are truly dead. The plot is simple but intriguing, painted in broad brushstrokes but filled with wonderful complexities and nuances and intricacies. However, whatever the plot, I would have relished every page of this novel because Shamsie's language is so rich, so quick-witted and charming, her characters have such charisma, and the sentences flow so beautifully, unfolding the thoughts in the reader's mind with graceful rhythm. It is a tremendous piece of writing, the authorial consciousness and self-awareness knife-sharp, the verse sparkling in brilliance.
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on 1 October 2010
This book reveals Kamila Shamsie's depth as a truly "poetic" writer, in the widest sense of the word. She draws you subtley into the confused and painful world of Aasmaani, the central character, gradually revealing the damage of Aasmani's childhood and young experiences. She demonstrates the enormous effect the lives of parents have upon their children. As I read, I felt myself entering Aasmaani's mind and experiences, feeling with her the desperation, the sense of utter confusion and loss. This is skillfully done, and the revelations towards the end are hidden enough in the trail that they aren't predicatable.. At the same time, she reveals what it is to be an educated woman in modern Pakistan, and the ways in which the bigger cultural picture of our country impacts on individual lives. Closing the last page, I was left admiring Shamsie's considerable story telling talent, and would defintely recommend this book.
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on 5 April 2007
I have read two others of Kamila Shamsie's novels and really enjoyed them, but this is my favourite of the three. This is both a page turner, and a beautifully written, poignant exammination of loss and how it is we remember those we have lost. Like Salt and Saffron a novel I read not long ago, it shows us a realistic modern Pakistan that we may not always get to see or hear about - and introduces us to the different people that live and work there.
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on 22 July 2013
... and it didn't disappoint.

There was a subtlety about the writing that I really enjoyed and I liked the way that the heroine reached a growing acceptance of things past. Some of her lack of forgiveness saddened me at times but none the less, a great read and one to pass around friends, too.
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on 30 September 2014
One of my favourite books of all time. Kamila Shamsie is one of my top five favourite writers of both sexes and among all genres and time periods. Her prose is wonderful, her characters and stories well plotted, intelligently fleshed out and presented, her sense of timing and suspension and indeed a poetic quality to word choices and also to the crafting of her sentences and her chapters... all make this a fantastic book!
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on 8 July 2005
Shamsie's 4th novel, published by Bloomsbury in 2005, is a splendid one, a beautiful read, and a continuation and development of Shamsie's distinctive and charming writing voice.
Shamsie is a Pakistani author, who consistently presents Pakistani society as a highly complex, attractive, mind-boggling, sophisticated society, cramed with distinctive and memorable characters.
The engaging and intelligent protagonist of Broken Verses, Aasmaani, is not unlike the protagonist of Kartography (Shamsie's 3rd novel), Raheen, in her wit, emotional independence, fierce loyalties, wry humour, privileged social status.
The storyline is based on Aasmaani not being able to know whether her mother and her mother's soulmate and lover, called The Poet, are truly dead. The plot is simple but intriguing, painted in broad brushstrokes but filled with wonderful complexities and nuances and intricacies. However, whatever the plot, I would have relished every page of this novel because Shamsie's language is so rich, so quick-witted and charming, her characters have such charisma, and the sentences flow so beautifully, unfolding the thoughts in the reader's mind with graceful rhythm. It is a tremendous piece of writing, the authorial consciousness and self-awareness knife-sharp, the verse sparkling in brilliance.
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on 19 August 2008
I recently had the misfortune of spending a few valuable hours of my life reading an acclaimed writer of pakistan, Kamila Shamsie. Ms Shamsie's, previous excellent literary achievement `Salt and Saffron' seemed like it was written by another person, another writer altogether. Given, the character traits of the both novels are the same, the story of a lost, young, strong willed, western educated, pakistani woman from karachi. However this particular character suffered from what I would like to call an unhealthy and borderline pshychotic obsession with her ownself and the unrelenting victomhood, she bemoaned throughout the storyline.

The place , the association with the city karachi, the themes of political persecution, the nature of the changing country, were touched upon with brilliant startups, however abandoned shortly with another dose of self obsessive lethargy, which became too much after the second time round. So much so that I wanted to find the damn `Poet' and the heroic yet flawed `mother' and tell them to stop screwing with the little child. The underline theme of absolute selfishness bored out of disasterous love between people, and the daughter as a consequence seemed to be as selfish in her love interests as the mother. There was very little humanity within the characters and specially in our heroine who is a complete wreck.

On another level, this story could have easily been placed on Mars as the location, although could have had a lot to do with the storyline, yet has nothing to do with the place and environment within which this story is simmering. I was disappointed by that as `Kartography' demonstrated that Kamila might start considering the lowly `everyman' and may eventually introduce this everyman in her story line. Isn't this fair to ask from a story being sold as a story of modern urban pakistan? That it should have a proportion of that world, represented within that storyline. However, this story was kept within the world of the superrich and there shennanigans.

I thought highly of Kamila Shamsie even after reading the average Kartography, but this novel has clearly degraded her in my estimation and is not worthy of the writer of `Salt & Saffron'.

Maybe its time for a writer of Kamila's stature to stop meandering about the `haves' and consider the `havenots' across the bridge if she wants to truly represent a modern Pakistan.
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on 28 May 2013
Came on time and in good condition. No complaints. Havent read the book yet, looking forward to read it in summer
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