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A God in Every Stone Hardcover – 10 Apr 2014

3.8 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)

Product Description

Review

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)

Book Description

A stunning new novel from the Granta Best of Young British, Orange shortlisted author of Burnt Shadows

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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? )
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 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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A God in Every Stone begins in 1914 with Vivian Rose Spencer, a young Englishwoman, discovering the ancient history of Southern Turkey and falling in love with her mentor and family friend, on an archaeological dig. When war flares up Viv must return to England and work as a nurse but she still dreams pursuing her career as an archaeologist.

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.
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