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
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  • Paperback:
    Apr 2009, 384 pages

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Jayne (05/03/09)

Burnt Shadows
It did not take me long to read this book. It was very easy to get lost in the wonderful writing and depth of the story. Reading about this turbulent time in history really got me thinking about how things in history affect people. I would recommend this book to my friends and will suggest it as a book club selection.
Christine (05/03/09)

Families and Tragic Times
Kamila Shamsie did a good job in tying together three tragic events in world history in the latter part of the 20th Century. These events were tied together by their impact on three generations of two multi-ethnic families. I enjoyed the book for the most part but got a little bogged down with the jumping around from different time periods and places and also by the different ethic groups in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Rhonda (05/03/09)

A book for our world
Kamila Shamsie's Burnt Shadows was like no book I have ever read. It put the tensions of the world and the people inhabiting it into a totally different light. It made you think about our world as a global world trying to coexist. The only problem I had with this book which kept me from saying it was great was I think the author tried so hard to get her points across and involved so many characters that I don't think they were totally developed at times. I would still recommend it as a great book that book clubs will find wonderful discussions to come from. I will be thinking about this book for several days.
Jan (05/03/09)

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 (05/02/09)

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.
Susan (05/02/09)

Burnt Shadows
The beginning of this book was confusing -- I would have preferred to get to know the characters better before the horror of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. However, I kept reading and found the book to be really good. The scope of the book was huge - Japan, India, Pakistan, the US but overall the theme of family unity tied together all of the various pieces and characters of the novel. I would highly recommend this book....and if you get bogged down at the beginning - keep reading -- it is WELL worth it!
Shirley (05/02/09)

Unique look at tragic events
Burnt Shadows covers 60 years of tragic events that shaped the lives of the three main characters. The unlikely trio of a Japanese survivor from the atomic bomb in Nagasaki, an Indian legal aide and a German woman married to a British officer stationed in Delhi meet and define the story to make it both personal and engaging. The love that they have for each other comes through the beautifully written prose, the horror of the events that shaped their lives and relationships is eloquently described and reveals the beauty of their attraction and understanding of each other. The author did a great job of tying together 3 people of widely varied backgrounds, and developing each character to maintain their individuality as well as their relationships. I recommend this book to any book group for the perspective of the three tragic events and the interrelationships of the characters involved.
Janice (05/02/09)

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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