- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (10 April 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1408847205
- ISBN-13: 978-1408847206
- Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 2.9 x 16.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 404,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A God in Every Stone Hardcover – 10 Apr 2014
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Passionate ... Individual characters, drawn together by historical imperatives, change each other, like tints laid side by side in a watercolour (Independent)
Love, politics, history - it has it all (Sunday Telegraph)
A fast-moving, well-researched story that reminds us of the contradictions of Empire in the age of the first worldwide war ... A God in Every Stone is a valuable reminder that the legacy of the Great War stretched far beyond Versailles (Joanna Biggs Sunday Times)
First-rate - intelligent, vivid and completely absorbing (Harry Ritchie Daily Mail)
Burns with quiet ferocity in every elegant, measured line ... beautifully written, thought-provoking (Tina Jackson Metro)
Evokes the past beautifully ... a moving story of love and betrayal, generosity and brutality, hope and injustice, full of characters that stay with you ... A God in Every Stone will surely confirm Shamsie's increasing eminence in the British world of letters (Tabish Khair Financial Times)
Its pages are lit by Shamsie's eloquent prose (Helen Dunmore Guardian)
A sensual treasury of descriptive ornamentation (Wendy Idle The 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, leaving few stones unturned in this exploration of how human motivation can shape history (Anita Sethi Observer)
It is a rare writer who can transport her readers in just a few pages to another place and time. Shamsie's writing is so evocative that she does just that ... complex and spell-binding (Lucy Popescu Independent on Sunday)
Elegant and atmospheric (Mail on Sunday)
I love Shamsie's beautiful painting with words. I've enjoyed her previous books for the way that the sweep of human history touches and turns the intimate lives of her characters. Unsurprisingly, this book . has already achieved widespread critical acclaim (Shami Chakrabarti, Guardian Summer Reading)
I can't recommend A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie too strongly - this is her best novel yet, which is high praise to give to the author of Burnt Shadows . Exciting and, in the end, profoundly moving, this will solace you during the grimmest holiday (Antonia Fraser, Guardian Summer Reading)
A literary delight (Jeanette Winterson, Guardian Summer Reading)
Powerful and gripping (Irish Times Summer Reading)
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)
A stunning new novel from the Granta Best of Young British, Orange shortlisted author of Burnt ShadowsSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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 ›
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.
The novel then introduces us to a young Pathan soldier in the British Indian army, Qayyam Gul. Qayyam is wounded at Ypres and whilst recuperating in Brighton he begins to question his loyalty to the British cause.
Vivian and Qayyam's stories intersect on a train to Peshawar and the rest of the novel remains set in Peshawar in increasingly troubled times. Vivian becomes a teacher to a young boy called Najeeb and Qayyam becomes involved in the Indian independence movement. All three of these characters paths will cross when the fight for independence spills into the streets on Peshawar.
A God in Every Stone is a well written novel although I found the second part of the novel set in Peshawar to be far more evocative than the earlier section of the book. Vivian is not the most interesting character and I found Qayyam and Najeeb more sympathetic and more complicated characters. I will definitely read more of Kamila Shamsie's novels.
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 4 months 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 6 months 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 8 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 11 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