Reader reviews and comments on Burnt Shadows, plus links to write your own review.

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Burnt Shadows

A Novel

by Kamila Shamsie

Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie X
Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
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  • Paperback:
    Apr 2009, 384 pages

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There are currently 16 reader reviews for Burnt Shadows
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Dorothy

Burnt Shadows - a book you shouldn't miss
Kamila Shamsie has written an incredible book in Burnt Shadows. Beginning just before the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and leaving you (I didn't feel that it ended because this is a book that stays with you) in the aftermath of 9-11, she explores the world through the relationships of two intertwined families. The book looks at what brings us together and what separates us in nationality, family relationships, and religion and it explores how languages effect the way we think and understand each other. But primarily this is a great read, beautifully written with wonderfully developed complex characters and a marvelous understanding of the randomness of life and the unintended consequences of our actions. It is a book you won't want to put down once you begin it and it would be a fabulous book discussion choice.
Susan

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.
Power Reviewer
Erica

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.
Power Reviewer
Mary

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!
Beatrice

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
Jan

A family saga spanning from Nagasaki to post 911
This book starts with a man stripped naked in a cell, wondering "how did it come to this?" Then the story starts, on the day the bomb is dropped in Nagasaki, with the story of how a German man, Konrad, and a Japanese woman, Hiroko, meet and become engaged. Their story then ripples outward into the future, to India, Pakistan, and ends in the post 911 America. The ever deepening connections and relationships between the two families, and the stories that are joined together, create an amazing intricate story of cultural differences both understood and misunderstood, the love that transcends the differences and even celebrates them, and the surprising ending that makes one wonder how do we pass on the knowledge of what we have come to understand.

This is a beautifully written book that gives great depth to the intricacies of relationships through time, place and the circumstances of history. It is a book that begs me to pick it up and reread it again.
Marta

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 judgment. 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

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).
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