Broken Verses: Book summary and reviews of Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie

Broken Verses

By Kamila Shamsie

Broken Verses
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2005,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

Fourteen years ago, famous Pakistani activist Samina Akram disappeared. Two years earlier, her lover, Pakistan's greatest poet, was beaten to death by government thugs. In present-day Karachi, her daughter Aasmaani has just discovered a letter in the couple's private code - a letter that could only have been written recently.

Aasmaani is thirty, single, drifting from job to job. Always left behind whenever Samina followed the Poet into exile, she had assumed that her mother's disappearance was simply another abandonment. Then, while working at Pakistan's first independent TV station, Aasmaani runs into an old friend of Samina's who gives her the first letter, then many more. Where could the letters have come from? And will they lead her to her mother?

Merging the personal with the political, Broken Verses is at once a sharp, thrilling journey through modern-day Pakistan, a carefully coded mystery, and an intimate mother-daughter story that asks how we forgive a mother who leaves.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Although Aasmaani's interiority occasionally overwhelms the otherwise well-paced narrative, her characterization is Shamsie's crowning triumph. Wry, fetching and too clever for her own good, she is a captivating, unexpected heroine." - Publishers Weekly

"Shamsie's love for and knowledge of the people of today's Karachi shine through this compelling tale; (Adult & High School)." - School Library Journal

"Shamsie carries the reader along on Aasmaani's slow journey of discovery with magnetic and beguiling prose, intelligence and wit." - Booklist

"A fresh literary look at modern-day Pakistan. [A] sparse, at times beautiful meditation on love, forgiveness, and letting go. B+." - Entertainment Weekly

"A beautifully written tale that is equal parts A.S. Byatt-style mystery and mother-daughter saga. [D]eftly infused with humor and romance." - Library Journal

"This novel is about mothers and daughters, life in a repressive society, and falling in love. Gorgeously written." - Nancy Pearl

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Author Information

Kamila Shamsie Author Biography

Kamila Shamsie was born in 1973 in Pakistan. Her first novel, In the City by the Sea, was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and her second, Salt and Saffron, won her a place on Orange's list of '21 Writers for the 21st Century'. In 1999 Kamila received the Prime Minister's Award for Literature in Pakistan. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Hamilton College in Clinton New York, where she has also taught Creative Writing, and a MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She also writes for The Guardian, The New Statesman, Index on Censorship and Prospect magazine, and broadcasts on radio.  Kartography (2004), explores the strained relationship between soulmates Karim and Raheen, set against a backdrop ...

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