Advance reader reviews of Burnt Shadows

Burnt Shadows

A Novel

by Kamila Shamsie

Burnt Shadows
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2009
    384 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 18 member reviews
for Burnt Shadows
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  • Beverly J. (Huntersville, NC)


    Living Beyond The Shadows
    Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie is an ambitious epic book that grabs in you in the prologue, as an unnamed narrator is disrobed and left to wait naked with only a steel bench to sit on. His thought is – “How did it come to this”. How stark this setting – but the grace of the language warns you that this is a story that you want to see unfold

    This is an elegantly written story that allows the reader to understand how history affects our relationships with each other, Sometimes history defers relationships and in others relationships survive despite the history. In each of the major parts of the book – there are historical events that are well know but what is not known is how it affects individuals who only want “to farm their land and raise their families”. There are themes of sameness and otherness in different cultures and the issues that one can have when trying to be the same. This book shows how who is considered a terrorist is dependent whose face you are looking at based on your own individual history.

    I recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and world events. Readers of literary fiction will enjoy this poetic story with the universal themes of humanity and characters finding a way to bring satisfaction to their individual lives.
  • Marta M. (Tustin, CA)


    Ripples in the water
    This was a powerful book about how the the bombing of Japan effected the generations to come. It involves only one Japanese character, Hiroko, who survives the bombing of Nagaski. She then travels to India, Pakistan, and finally New York. All of her relationships are affected by this one event. It is written without prejudice and states the historical facts without any judgement. I think that this is a book that all should read. This would be a great book for book clubs because there is a lot to be discussed.
  • Janice M. (Holland, MI)


    Burnt Shadows
    Beginning with the atomic bomb being dropped in Nagasaki and the effects of war, love, family this novel stays with you long after you finish reading. At times the author paints vivid pictures with her words and you feel as though you are right there. It would be a fabulous read for book clubs with many topics for discussion (war, multicultural marriage, friendship, terrorism).
  • Beatrice D. (Floral Park, New York)


    Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
    From the very first page until the days following 9/11, Kamila Shamsie guides us through the impact of sixty years of world history, using the story of two ethnically different but interlaced families. Starting with the Atomic Bomb in Nagasaki, Japan, through events in India, Afghanistan and New York, we realize how quickly lives can be blown off course by the events of history. A very readable and fascinating story
  • Mary O. (Boston, MA)


    Riveting! DON'T MISS IT!
    In light of our global world and its problems today many hinging on war and its consequences, ALL SHOULD READ THIS! I thought the book was phenomenal - beautifully written, fast paced and most of the time a real page turner. I couldn't put it down and it has haunted me since I finished it. From Nagasaki to Delhi, Pakistan, NYC and Afghanistan it tracks cultural differences so often misunderstood as well as the effect of circumstances of history. It truly shows what brings people together and what also separates us and the unintentional results of our actions. I LOVED this book!
  • Erica M. (Skokie, IL)


    Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
    Shamsie effectively kept a story line going through the book bringing the horror of the bombing of Nagasaki into juxtaposition with the modern day terrorist attacks. It was a unique perspective - and a unique book. The characters were well-developed, the story lines fully developed, so that no matter where in the world the story moved, it was logical and clear and did not seem to be mere device or manipulation. It was the kind of book that had so much going on, that it would easily bear re-reading - both for content and the quality of the writing.
  • Susan J. (Twain Harte, CA)


    A Great Book Club Read
    I will recommend this book to my book club which read The Kite Runner last year. This is a sad, moving, intense, sweeping novel, with themes of connection and loss, trust and treason. The author's vivid descriptions carried me to Nagasaki, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and I can see this as a wonderful film. My history background is sadly lacking, so I am going to follow up with some of the author's suggestions for further reading. I strongly recommend this book.
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