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A God in Every Stone Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Loyalty and betrayal, love and loss, conflicting ideals . . . all crop up. In particular the Great War 1915 and the hectic 1930s in British India (now Pakistan). The main characters charmingly connect the heritage of two great races - Pathan and English. As I anticipate from this author, the writing is superb. Unfortunately, however, her plot gets lost towards the end and I just don't get it.
New characters materialise and take over. I was not interested in these strangers. I wanted conclusion for the people who had enchanted me throughout. I mean, what the heck happened to the English heroine? I know she'll campaign in 1947 for Pakistan independence, but she's last seen disguised in a burka during the Peshawar Massacre of 1930. And the two male leads deserved better than a casual dumping.
All praise to deep research, informative detail, ambitious vision and skilled writing, but for me a story requires a satisfying ending and I failed to find one.
On a trip to an ancient archaeological site in Turkey in summer 1914, Vivian begins to look at a family friend in a new light. Her friendship with Tahsin Bey seems to be developing into an unspoken romantic understanding. Then the travellers receive news of the war in Europe, and Vivian has a telegram from her father – she must find a way to travel home immediately, with just a whispered promise from Tahsin Bey: “When the war ends, Vivian Rose”. Back in London she works as a VAD (volunteer nurse) for a few months, before setting off to Peshawar to see an ancient archaeological treasure, and hoping to meet Tahsin Bey.
There is plenty to explore there, but there is also simmering conflict between Indian nationalist aspirations and the repressive society of the British in India – the British take a dim view of a young woman wanting to lead archaeological expeditions with the local Pathan people. She returns to London but not before forming a lasting friendship.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had great difficulty in remembering this book, in order to write a review - and that does seem to sum up how unmemorable it was for me, although I read it only a couple of months... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Minijax
We forget the individuals involved in the discourse of empire building but this tale brings the reality of those affected to the fore. Read morePublished 1 month ago by C. Southern
Pleasant in places, but overall a confusing jumble. I did finish this book but didn't real care how it concluded by then. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Snuggle mum
The story is set in the turbulent war years of 1915-1930 focusing on Anglo-Indian relations. It follows Vivian an English woman interested in archaeology and very independent... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Greta
Excellently written.reveals somewhat hidden , or rather forgotten , historical truths
Evokes lanscape and atmosphere of London, Turkey and NW India t the turn of the 20th... Read more
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