Are you between 5 and 25? If so, enter the Wicked Young Writer Awards NOW - click here for details...

twitter likeyoulove make the most of Lovereading
Search our site
Last Letter from Istanbul by Lucy Foley Read the opening extract of the brand new Lucy Foley book before its publication on 19/03/2018

Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
  

Burnt Shadows

Literary Fiction   eBook Favourites   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Share this book

Lovereading view...

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2009

A stunning, captivating novel spanning generations and the globe. From the bombing of Nagasaki through to the attacks of 9/11 we follow Hiroko Tanaka’s life, the people she meets, the places she goes the challenges she takes on. A lovely, lyrical, tender novel.

If you like Kamila Shamsie you might also like to read books by Bernardine Bishop, Bernadine Evaristo and Priya Basil.

Synopsis

Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie

Burnt Shadows traces the devastating legacy of the 20th century from Nagasaki to Guantanamo Bay through the experiences of two families – one from the West, one from the East.

In a prison cell in the US, a man stands trembling, naked, fearfully waiting to be shipped to Guantánamo Bay. How did it come to this, he wonders?

August 9th, 1945, Nagasaki. Hiroko Tanaka steps out onto her veranda, taking in the view of the terraced slopes leading up to the sky. Wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across the back, she is twenty-one, in love with the man she is to marry, Konrad Weiss. In a split second, the world turns white. In the next, it explodes with the sound of fire and the horror of realisation. In the numbing aftermath of a bomb that obliterates everything she has known, all that remains are the bird-shaped burns on her back, an indelible reminder of the world she has lost.

In search of new beginnings, she travels to Delhi two years later. There she walks into the lives of Konrad’s half-sister, Elizabeth, her husband James Burton, and their employee Sajjad Ashraf, from whom she starts to learn Urdu. As the years unravel, new homes replace those left behind and old wars are seamlessly usurped by new conflicts. But the shadows of history – personal, political – are cast over the entwined worlds of the Burtons, Ashrafs and the Tanakas as they are transported from Pakistan to New York, and in the novel’s astonishing climax, to Afghanistan in the immediate wake of 9/11. The ties that have bound them together over decades and generations are tested to the extreme, with unforeseeable consequences.

Sweeping in its scope and mesmerising in its evocation of time and place, Burnt Shadows is an epic narrative of disasters evaded and confronted, loyalties offered and repaid, and loves rewarded and betrayed.

Reviews

'Kamila Shamsie is a writer of immense ambition and strength. She understands a great deal about the ways in which the world’s many tragedies and histories shape one another, and about how human beings can try to avoid being crushed by their fate and can discover their humanity, even in the fiercest combat zones of the age. Burnt Shadows is an absorbing novel that commands, in the reader, a powerful emotional and intellectual response.' - Salman Rushdie

‘Marvellous... It's a huge leap forward for her, I think; its breadth and depth are wonderful. It's beautifully paced, and delicately written; the past evoked with such lyricism and pain, the unbearable present so unbearably unbearable and yet it has such tenderness.’- Barbara Trapido

‘Burnt Shadows is a beautiful, beautiful book. I was entirely swept up in the story, and I feel, now that I’ve (so reluctantly) put it down, that I have travelled the world and spent the past six decades with Hiroko and her family. The book speaks boldly and powerfully of our age; I know it will stay with me for a long time to come.’ - Tahmima Anam, author of The Golden Age

‘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.’ - Anita Desai

About the Author

Kamila Shamsie was born in 1973 in Pakistan. She is the author of four previous novels: In the City by the Sea, Kartography (both shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys / Mail on Sunday Prize), Salt and Saffron and Broken Verses. In 1999 she received the Prime Minister's Award for Literature and in 2004 the Patras Bokhari Award - both award by the Pakistan Academy of Letters. Kamila Shamsie lives in London and Karachi.

Kamila Shamsie is available for interview and is also an experienced journalist, broadcaster, speaker and chairperson at public events.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

21st April 2009

Author

Kamila Shamsie

More books by Kamila Shamsie
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...
Loading twitter updates...

Publisher

Bloomsbury Paperbacks

Format

Paperback

Categories

Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites


ISBN

9781408804278

I love the 'like for like' author recommendations, it's like an old friend whispering in your ear.

Emma Caddick

You can trust Lovereading to show unbiased reviews by actual, ordinary readers that help likeminded booklovers choose their next great read.

Linda Hill

Its jam packed with fantastic titles, informative descriptions & fantastic reviews and has a vast array of great features & competitions.

Linda Rollins

Lovereading helps me decide what real people read.

Kerry Bridges

It's information about new books so, for a book lover like me, what's not to like!

Joan Hill

Lovereading has given me the opportunity to delve into new and exciting worlds of authors who I would never have tried before.

Glynis Elliott

I love the newsletter with reviews of all the new books coming out. Can't wait to open it when it arrives in my inbox.

Rachel Aygin

Discover new authors and enjoy old favourites; oodles of literary gems to uncover at Lovereading with candid reviews from real reviewers.

Emily Wright

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools