- 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)
Burnt Shadows Paperback – 5 Oct 2009
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`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
'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.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have read all of Kamila's books, although lovely writing I wish she would experiment more...the plots and style have become quite repetitive now.Published 8 months ago by mrs turabi
Immensely well written with a complicated subject matterPublished 9 months ago by Mrs. T. S. Foster
This book took me into a fascinating read of history, politics, religion, atonement, love, and a whole lot of major issues in a very readable way. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mrs A J McCullough
This book was for my Mum's birthday gift and she loved it.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent read . Well researched in the way different historical events were stitched together. Our Bookclub voted it a hit .Published 11 months ago by Lucky Franker
I would give this book 10 stars if I could. It is beautifully written and flows effortlessly. The heroine in fascinating and the book spans from Nagasaki to 9/11. Read morePublished 13 months ago by MC