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A God in Every Stone by [Shamsie, Kamila]
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A God in Every Stone Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Length: 321 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

First-rate - intelligent, vivid and completely absorbing Daily Mail I can't recommend A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie too strongly - this is her best novel yet ... Exciting and, in the end, profoundly moving, this will solace you during the grimmest holiday Antonia Fraser Guardian Summer Reading A moving story of love and betrayal, generosity and brutality, hope and injustice, full of characters that stay with you ... Will surely confirm Shamsie's increasing eminence in the British world of letters Financial Times The voices of those silenced from the pages of history resound in Kamila Shamsie's accomplished, atmospheric sixth novel ... Shamsie excavates the deepest corners of the human heart Observer A page-turner that is also a literary delight Jeanette Winterson, Guardian Summer Reading Love, politics, history - it has it all Sunday Telegraph Given Vivian's profession, it comes as no surprise to see Shamsie engaged in a multi-layered excavation of colonial attitudes, the role of women in society, war, loyalty and betrayal. Many novels are ambitious in scope. Few authors are as capable as Shamsie at rising to the challenge Glasgow Herald

Book Description

Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015. From the Orange Prize shortlisted author of Burnt Shadows

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1418 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (10 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IUMSSPE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,221 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
We all have our place in the chaos of history, says the jacket blurb. As in her previous novels, Kamila Shamsie links ordinary people to world changing events, yet this one goes farther. Her narrative touches two great empires - the Persian of 500BC and the British Empire of the 20th century.
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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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. One is the high quality of Shamsie’s writing. Another is that the focus is very different – not just the fighting in Western Europe or the home front, but the impact of the war, and its aftermath, way beyond Europe, specifically in the area of British-ruled India around Peshawar (some years before Partition and the creation of Pakistan as a separate country). Shamsie is from Pakistan but has lived in Britain for the last few years, and so this isn’t just a historical novel written by a Westerner and set somewhere exotic – I do enjoy some of those but it’s interesting to read something with more substance.

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.
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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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