For fans of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar and The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. Bolder and more ambitious than her previous novels, this is a major novel, set against the backdrop of war, of intersecting lives of people from different nations and cultures. It has huge commercial potential. Rights have been sold in twenty countries
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 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 awarded by the Pakistan Academy of Letters. Kamila Shamsie lives in London.
Shamsie takes readers on a tour de force in this examination of the impact of war, following a trajectory from the devastation of Nagasaki in WWII through the conflict-ridden formation of Pakistan in the late 1940s to post-9/11 Manhattan and war-torn Afghanistan. Konrad Weiss, living in Nagasaki in the summer of 1945, hires a local woman, Hiroko Tanaka, to help him write a book about the city. The romance that blossoms is cut short when the atom bomb falls, killing Konrad, and after a while, Hiroko, feeling she can no longer stay in her country, travels to India to find Konrad's sister, Ilse, the wife of a British lawyer enjoying the privileges of the British raj's final days. From there, Shamsie brilliantly interweaves the lives of an array of characters as she brings the story forward to the 1980s, then to the beginning of the 21st century, exploring the clashes between loyalty to family, homeland and cause. Shamsie's unsparing look at how individuals respond when war affects their world makes for an intriguing, heartrending tale of human connection. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
'Completely authentic, complex, breath-stopping' Emma Thompson 'Achingly moving' Independent 'A sweeping narrative with a breath-taking climax' Guardian 'Intensely charged with emotion and beauty ... Has such a sad story ever been told so beautifully? A formidable arching tale about loss and foreignness' Financial Times
An engrossing story of resilience and humanity in the face of crushing tragedy, Shamsie's (Salt and Saffron) fifth novel follows the interconnected lives of two families brought together in Nagasaki near the end of World War II. Their fates are linked for 60 years through several countries and ultimately to a somewhat paranoid New York following 9/11. The allusion to recent historical events is not simply an overt device on which to hang a particular political viewpoint; these events are integral to the personal narratives presented here. Shamsie explores the meanings of cultural identity through characters who endure sacrifice, betrayal, and human-made disaster as they live and work in countries foreign to them. This critically acclaimed Pakistani author, who writes in English, is a powerful storyteller who deserves a wider U.S. audience. Readers who appreciate the cross-cultural scope and insight into global tensions in the works of Khaled Hosseini and Salman Rushdie will thoroughly enjoy this novel. Highly recommended.-Gwen Vredevoogd, Marymount Univ., Arlington, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.