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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Trezeline (05/03/09)

Burnt Shadows
Kamila Shamsie covers three generations of two families in 365 pages. The language she uses is beautiful. At times I could imagine I was in the scene she was describing. Although at times the story gets a bit tedious, over all the continuing relationships between the characters is interesting and you really get insight into the many effects of war. We, as Americans are sometimes so unconcerned about what happens in foreign countries. We don't see the changes in ourselves caused by war and certainly don't realize the effects on people of other countries. This was a good read.
Dorothy (05/03/09)

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.
Kathleen (05/03/09)

Burnt Shadows Review
This is an incredible book. It is beautifully written and complex. I can’t seem to stop thinking about the characters. My only complaint is that it may be too complex or ambitious for one book. When the scene shifted to New York, I felt like I was reading a different book and got lost at times.To the book's credit, everything did come together in the end. Those willing to finish the book will be well rewarded. (This book is better than good, but I did not give it five stars because in my opinion five star books are "must reads", and this book is for a more selective and dedicated audience.)
Susan (05/03/09)

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.
Linda (05/03/09)

Burnt Shadows
Kamila Shamsie has written a book of immense scope, following the intertwined lives of two families from 1945 to post-9/11; from Nagasaki through Delhi, Pakistan, New York and Afghanistan. I found the earlier days in Nagasaki and Delhi more believable even though the horror is palpable. The story is compelling and definitely worth reading. The characters are complicated as are the relationships between and among the families in their various representations. This is a thought-provoking story of inter-cultural involvement on many levels. At times I had to suspend my disbelief.
Erica (05/03/09)

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 (05/03/09)

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 (05/03/09)

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
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