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Burnt Shadows Paperback – 5 Oct 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (5 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140880087X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408800874
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

`This is an unnervingly ambitious canvas, but the quality of Shamsie's writing swiftly draws you in and proves strong enough to carry it. A tremendous, impressive and thoroughly enjoyable book' --Daily Mail

Review

'Burnt Shadows is audacious in its ambition, epic in its scope. A startling expansion of the author's intentions, imagination and craftsmanship. One can only admire the huge advances she has made, and helped us to make, in understanding the new global tensions.' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and thought the writing was excellent. I didn't give it five stars, however, as I am not sure the storyline entirely worked.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed with an interesting history.
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Format: Paperback
An ambitious yet easy read, Burnt Shadows is a book I find hard to place. Despite dealing with heavy issues of war and politics, there is something strangely leightweight about it. The storyline spans fifty years and a large swathe of the planet. It's original and interesting, but not entirely convincing. The characters are rather flat and it's hard to get emotionally involved. There's a lack of subtlety, the author falling foul of the old adage to 'show and not tell'.

I found the best sections of the book to be those in Pakistan, and the story's conclusion, which was rather courageous and had a twist I wouldn't have expected based on the rest of the novel. The author's attempt to link the topics of modern day Islamic extremism, the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, and the British Raj and Partition, is certainly brave and deserving of credit.

Whilst I cannot rave about the book for the reasons described above, I did find it an intriguing read and although not gripped by it, it does move along at a good pace. It would actually be a good holiday read for those who can't bear very light fiction but don't want anything too demanding. Maybe the award nominations and back cover comments gave me overly high expectations; think of it as a historical romance with a literary bent and you're more likely to come away satisfied.
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Format: Paperback
Burnt Shadows

Hiroko is newly engaged to Konrad when he is killed and she is injured by the Nagasaki nuclear bomb. Once sufficiently recovered physically, she travels to India to meet Konrad's family, James and Elizabeth. Hiroko is a gifted linguist and takes Urdu lessons from James' employee, Sajjad, to whom she becomes increasingly close, and marries, much to the disapproval of his family. At the time of partition, Sajjad's family, all Muslim, want to move to Pakistan, while he would prefer to stay in his beloved Dili/Delhi. He realizes that this may not be safe for Hiroko, as a foreigner who has been seen to be closely involved with the British, so moves away with her during the upheavals of partition, then, to his disappointment, is not allowed to move back to India post partition.

Hiroko and Sajjad's marriage is solid, a testament to their determination to give-and-take, and indeed to know when to give and when to take, and their sensitivity to and understanding of each other's cultures. This is so beautifully described that it could usefully be recommended reading for anyone considering marriage or a serious relationship. Very moving.

Disasters happen. Events ensure that Sajjad's family and Konrad's family stay forever linked. An elderly Elizabeth (now Ilse) and Hiroko rekindle their friendship. Raza and Harry are caught up in events in Afghanistan. Kim, post 9/11, worries for the safety of anyone she loves.

This is so beautiful!
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Format: Paperback
I began by loving this book. The writing was atmospheric and lured me in. But the further into the book I got the more it paled. The author tries to cover too many years, too much history in a book of relatively small size page-wise. Result - fails to truly capture the essence of the characters and it all ends up being convoluted and rushed. The astonishing multi multi lingual people in it seemed far fetched and invented only to get round quirks in the story where it would've been inconvenient or downright impossible for the action had not several characters been conveniently multi lingual in a wide variety on languages. I ploughed on hoping for a tremendous denouement only to feel as if the author, like me, had got bored by the end and wanted to make a swift exist. Complete and utter let-down.
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Format: Paperback
If you enjoyed the The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns then you might enjoy this epic historical novel which covers several cultures, countries and wars over many decades of the 20th and early 21st century. Although I thought it wasn't quite as good as the former two books, it's definitely worth a read and it was certainly eventful. After the first couple of chapters once I'd got used to the writing, the sometimes awkward sentence structure, I really enjoyed this novel and it's lovely characters.
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Format: Paperback
Took this book out of the library after reading reviews in The Sunday Times I think it was. And I wasn't let down. It's an enthralling a tale with a tremendous root in Nagasaki that trails and lingers through Pakistan to the stark reality of the US and war on terror. You can read on various levels but do take time to envelop yourself in the language. It's obviously a book written from the heart and from a viewpoint that deserves to be respected. It's one of those rare books that has a real story to tell and is told in literary style. Take your time and read it;enjoy.
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By H. Ashford VINE VOICE on 2 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
There are several good reviews here, which I don't feel I can compete with. Suffice it to say that I found this book to be both lyrical in its writing, and more importantly (for me) to have depths of meaning that ask the reader to question their notions of love and loyalty and to ask themselves just what is it that makes life worth living.

The ending came as quite a shock to me (I was expecting more story, and I was expecting the end to be more upbeat), and once I had taken it in, I felt it was almost unbearably poignant.

This book isn't an easy book to read, but it well repays the reader the effort put in. It is one of my favourite books of 2009.
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