A God in Every Stone
July 1914. A young Englishwoman, Vivian Rose Spencer is running up a mountainside in an ancient land. She picks up a fig and holds it to her nose. Around her is a maze of broken columns, taller than the tallest of men. Nearby is the familiar lean form of her father's old friend, Tahsin Bey, an archeologist. Viv is about to discover the Temple of Zeus, the call of adventure and the ecstasy of love. July, 1915. An Englishwoman and an Indian man meet on a train to Peshawar. Viv Spencer is following a cryptic message sent to her by the man she loves, from whom she has been separated by war. Qayyum Gul is returning home after losing an eye at Ypres while fighting for the British Indian army, his allegiances in tatters. When they disembark the train at Peshawar they are unaware that a connection is about to be forged between their lives - one of which they will be unaware until fifteen years later when anti-colonial resistance, an ancient artefact and a mysterious green-eyed woman will bring them together again over seventy-two hours of heartbreak, frayed loyalties and hope.
A stunning new novel from the Granta Best of Young British, Orange shortlisted author of Burnt Shadows
Shortlisted for the 2015 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.
Into the ranks of international voices steps Kamila Shamsie, who seems as if she has heard, and listened to, the music of what surrounds us Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin A work of art, as human as the feel of another's hand Peter Carey, Observer Books of the Year (on Burnt Shadows) One of the inexplicable omissions from the Man Booker shortlist, Shamsie's astonishing story of love and survival is set against some of modern history's defining moments, from the Nagasaki bomb and Indian partition to the war in Afghanistan Financial Times Books of the Year My favourite book of the year has to be Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie ... Shamsie achieves the near impossibility of a truly intimate epic tale ... I challenge anyone to put this book down lightly or not to identify with at least one of its many flawed and yet irresistibly human characters Shami Chakrabarti, Observer Books of the Year Couldn't put it down -- Sarah Brown Mslexia 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 Burnt Shadows is audacious in its ambition, epic in its scope. A startling expansion of the author's intentions, imagination and craftsmanship -- Anita Desai An arresting achievement, combining an extraordinary heroine, an exceptional set of circumstances and an almost Forsterian ear for the inadvertent comedy of cashing cultures . [an] absorbing, multi-layered novel -- Amanda Craig Literary Review In this brilliant book Kamila Shamsie opens a vista onto the century we're have just lived through - pointing out its terror and its solace. She is so extraordinary a writer that she also offers hints about the century we are living through -- Nadeem Aslam (author of Maps for Lost Lovers) Through its succession of seemingly disparate, acutely observed worlds, Burnt Shadows reveals the shared histories, hinting at larger tragedies through individual loss . Any reader anticipating a predictable yarn about the radicalisation of Islamist youth may feel cheated. Far more, I suspect, will feel challenged and enlightened, possibly provoked, and undoubtedly enriched -- Maya Jaggi Guardian Beautifully written, poignant and moving Easy Living The most ambitious novel yet by this talented writer. In Burnt Shadows, Kamila Shamsie casts her imagination remarkably far and wide, through time and across continents -- Mohsin Hamid Shamsie calls upon her considerable command of disciplined irony to examine how we arrived at where we are now, this beaten planet . This is book of our times and the legacy of global guilt -- Eileen Battersby Irish Times Into the ranks of international voices steps Kamile Shamsie, who seems as if she has heard, and listened, to the music of what surrounds us -- Colum McCann This book will live with me for ever ... What spoke to me in this story is the need in all of us to carry our own sense of self and purpose, even as the world around us changes at such a furious pace -- Sarah Brown Elle A thing of real beauty ... 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 the past six decades with Hiroko and her family -- Tahmima Anam, author of A Golden Age This is history writ large, made indelible. A chain of cause and consequence, link upon link, step by inexorable step, towards the novel's conclusion is instantly forged ... The ending [set in the months after 9/11] is full of the high emotion, misunderstanding, grief and confusion that were so raw and rife and inevitable then -- Tom Adair The Scotsman A stunning book that encapsulates the troubled times we live in -- Emma Lee-Potter Daily Express Completely authentic, complex and breath-stopping -- Emma Thompson
Kamila Shamsie is the author of five novels: In the City by the Sea; Kartography (both shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize); Salt and Saffron; Broken Verses and Burnt Shadows which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and has been translated into more than twenty languages. Three of her novels have received awards from Pakistan's Academy of Letters. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2013 was named a Granta's Best of Young British Novelist. She grew up in Karachi and now lives in London. @kamilashamsie