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Burnt Shadows
by Kamila Shamsie | Literature & Fiction
Registered by redfox5 of Sandhurst, Berkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, January 17, 2010
Average 8 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by jumpingin): to be read


13 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by redfox5 from Sandhurst, Berkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, January 17, 2010

This book has not been rated.

This book was brought for ApoloniaX birthday :) The first person ever to send me a rabck which was 'Wuthering Heights'. I hope you have a wonderful day! Happy birthday! 


Journal Entry 2 by redfox5 at By Mail, Birthday present -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

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Released 4 yrs ago (1/18/2010 UTC) at By Mail, Birthday present -- Controlled Releases

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Enjoy your gift and have a great birthday :) 


Journal Entry 3 by wingApoloniaXwing from Bremen, Bremen Germany on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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Thank you so much for this wishlist book!
Just yesterday I came across a thread in the German forum - a bookring of the German translation of this novel. And I considered signing up - but then thought I'd better read the original some day, translations always lose something. And today I receive this book :-)
Thanks a lot for your wonderful birthday package - I'm thrilled! 


Journal Entry 4 by wingApoloniaXwing from Bremen, Bremen Germany on Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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Blurb:
August 9th, 1945, Nagasaki. Hiroko Tanaka steps out onto her veranda. Wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across the back, she is twenty-one and in love with the man she is to marry. Moments later the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and her life is altered forever.
Two years later and in search of new beginnings, she travels to Delhi and walks into the lives of her fiancé's sister. But the shadows of history - personal, political - are cast over the entwined worlds of this family as they are transported from Pakistan to New York, and in the novel's astonishing climax, to Afghanistan in the immediate wake of 9/11.

A review: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/mar/07/burnt-shadows-kamila-shamsie-review 


Journal Entry 5 by wingApoloniaXwing from Bremen, Bremen Germany on Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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Bookray:
- wendyv, Australia, ship int'l
- shelj7k, Ireland, ship int'l
- mafarrimond, UK, ship EU
- ETMadrid, UK, ship EU (intl if needed)
- sing-on-a-star, UK, ship intl
- Annimanni, Finland, ship EU (intl if needed)
- Totje2, NL, ship EU
- okyrhoe, Greece, ship int'l
- cinnycat, US, ship US
- Erishkigal, US, ship US/Can
- jumpingin, Can, ship int'l  


Journal Entry 6 by wingApoloniaXwing from Bremen, Bremen Germany on Tuesday, April 06, 2010

9 out of 10

A brilliant novel! And an amazing interplay of personal lives – two families, one from the east, one from the west – and historic moments – Nagasaki, Partition, 9/11. Two main themes: loss and identity. The loss of home, of people, and how to cope with it. I enjoyed that the characters don’t have obvious, clear identities, but are all some sort of hybrid beings jumping between cultures and juggling with their inter-culturalism. They are strong people, but not always in control of their lives and forced to migrate again and again. The novel sometimes feels a bit too constructed, both the plot and the characters, but at the same times this seems to be the driving force of the book, anything less might seem dull. A powerful story that will stay with me for long. 


Journal Entry 7 by wingApoloniaXwing at To First Participant, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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Released 4 yrs ago (4/7/2010 UTC) at To First Participant, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases

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Travelling to wendyv.
Happy reading! 


Journal Entry 8 by wendyv from Blind Bight, Victoria Australia on Thursday, April 15, 2010

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TBR - this book arrived today, thank you! I am looking forward to reading it, very much, will get to it as soon as I have finished Moominpappa....it looks very exciting. Thnak you for including me :)

17th April 2010: started this last night and am so impressed so far. I thought the first few pages were beautifully written, allowing us an insight into the characters at the time of the Nagasaki atrocity. Am please to be on the ring. I think I shoudl be able to read it over the weekend....:) 


Journal Entry 9 by wendyv from Blind Bight, Victoria Australia on Wednesday, April 21, 2010

8 out of 10

I really liked this novel. It was interesting and it genuinely had me hooked as I kept on reading wanting to find out happened next. I found the characters likeable yet, at times, infuriating.

I liked the time span. I found it fascinating to watch how the lives of the central charcaters were so entwined through all of the generations mentioned in the novel.

Thank you for including me in the ring. I will send this lovely novel on the next leg of its journey at the end of this week....I have to wait for payday! 


Journal Entry 10 by wendyv at Blind Bight, Victoria Australia on Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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Released 4 yrs ago (4/23/2010 UTC) at Blind Bight, Victoria Australia

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Will be posted by Friday! 


Journal Entry 11 by shelj7k at Blackrock, Co. Dublin Ireland on Wednesday, June 30, 2010

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Burnt Shadows arrived this morning. I am delighted as I'm nearly finished my current read and really looking forward to starting this one. Thank you to ApoloniaX for including me and to Wendyv for forwarding it along with a surprise book, Boy Overboard by Morris Gleitzman, which looks great too! 


Journal Entry 12 by shelj7k at Blackrock, Co. Dublin Ireland on Saturday, July 10, 2010

8 out of 10

Another fantastic novel from Kamila Shamsie (I've read Broken Verses also). This book has a huge historical canvas and, although dealing with weighty matters such as war and partition, it is an easy and flowing read. Shamsie's style is lyrical and poetic from the word go. Even the image from the title of the burnt shadows on Hirko's back is extremely powerful. There is so much to linger over, especially in the first half of the book. Later in the story the style changes and becomes more thriller. If I have one criticism it would be that, although Shamsie carries it off, it amost tries to do too much. I have given it 8/10 stars.

Thank you once again ApoloniaX for a very rewarding read. I have mafarrimond's address and will mail the book on Monday morning. 


Journal Entry 13 by mafarrimond at Hawarden, Wales United Kingdom on Saturday, July 17, 2010

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The book has arrived. I will read asap and send on. Thank you for sharing it. 


Journal Entry 14 by mafarrimond at Hawarden, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 27, 2010

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I really enjoyed this story which had me enthralled from the begining. My 91 year old father is very ill at the moment and I was able to share the book with him. He was in Nagasaki shortly after the bomb - as a member of the Royal Navy his duties were to patrol the area.

Thank you for sharing it with me. 


Journal Entry 15 by mafarrimond at London, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, July 29, 2010

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Released 4 yrs ago (7/29/2010 UTC) at London, Greater London United Kingdom

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Posting on. Enjoy! 


Journal Entry 16 by wingETMadridwing at London, Greater London United Kingdom on Friday, July 30, 2010

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It's arrived - thank you so much. I'm really looking forward to this, and know that Kamila Shamsie is the next author to be invited to the World Book Club at the BBC that I'm hoping to go to (I now know that's to be at the end of September) (although my new job may well not permit it).

Thanks for the postcard - I've not seen one of these bookcrossing ones before. 


Journal Entry 17 by wingETMadridwing at London, Greater London United Kingdom on Friday, September 03, 2010

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I thought this was excellent. The real reason I wanted to read this is because Nagasaki was home to me for three years, and I'm impressed that the author has focused on the problem of the prejudice against the 'hibakusha', something that I only got an understanding of towards the end of my stay there, and which shocked me profoundly. There is big business in Japan for private investigators who check up on the backgrounds of families (eg the family of a future spouse) to see if they have any history of nuclear bomb contact.

This books deals beautifully with the emotions of the displaced. There's a line on p141 that I especially like when Hiroko says 'but I'm at home in the idea of foreignness.' I can relate to that myself, and can also say that homeliness for me feels foreign, as I'm back where I was born and it feels strange...

The descriptions of the cultures, the cross-cultural communication that can be possible as well as the clashes, are all impressively rendered. It deals with loss, and in so saying I'm reminded of the book "The Inheritance of Loss", equally brilliant though very different in style.

Quite how the author manages to make all that happens so believable is hard to grasp. I said to myself as I read, imagining it to be real, that the people must be saying 'if this were a book noone would believe it'. And yet I was completely drawn in and indeed, found it all believable. Unfortunately, such misfortune and loss can happen in this way. I thought this was a good mix of plot and subtlety and even poetry. To be able to write this about so many languages and cultures, set in so many countries, convincingly, well, I'm in awe really.

This book got to jump my queue of bookrings and rays so that I'd not be reading it last minute before the radio show. Thank you for making this possible!

PS the programme with Kamila Shamsie will be broadcast at 8pm UK time on the World Service, on Sat 6th November. 


Journal Entry 18 by wingETMadridwing at Southwark, Greater London United Kingdom on Friday, September 17, 2010

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Released 4 yrs ago (9/17/2010 UTC) at Southwark, Greater London United Kingdom

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At last I was able to get to the post office... 


Journal Entry 19 by sing-on-a-star at Manchester, Greater Manchester United Kingdom on Monday, September 20, 2010

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Arrived this morning. Thankyou for the book and the lovely postcard. 


Journal Entry 20 by sing-on-a-star at Manchester, Greater Manchester United Kingdom on Sunday, October 17, 2010

7 out of 10

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoy novels caught up in history and significant social commentary and this book managed to satisfy my craving for this. I found myself really caught up in the events and found myself wondering what I would do in the position of some of the central characters (particularly Kim in the final chapters).....and oh! what a cliffhanger!

Have Annimanni's address so I will be sending the book on it's way this week. Thanks for including me in the ray. 


Journal Entry 21 by sing-on-a-star at Manchester, Greater Manchester United Kingdom on Friday, October 22, 2010

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Released 4 yrs ago (10/22/2010 UTC) at Manchester, Greater Manchester United Kingdom

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Sending to Annimanni, the next person in the ray. Sorry it's taken so long......enjoy! 


Journal Entry 22 by wingAnnimanniwing at Espoo, Uusimaa Finland on Friday, October 29, 2010

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The book's safely in Finland, thank you! I should get to it next week at the latest. 


Journal Entry 23 by wingAnnimanniwing at Espoo, Uusimaa Finland on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

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I loved Shamsie's Broken Verses and so had high expectations of this book - and I certainly wasn't disappointed. It might well be that I liked this one even better. I think what I most enjoy is Shamsie's style. She writes such beautiful prose and creates such powerful imagery. I also love how her characters maintain their humanity through everything they go through. I'm sure I won't forget this story.

Next off to Totje2 in the NL. Enjoy! 


Journal Entry 24 by wingBoekentrolwing at Leeuwarden, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Saturday, November 20, 2010

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This book arrived safely today. Thank you, Annimanni, for sending it to me. And ApoloniaX for making it into a ring. Looking forward to read it very much. :-)
Might even get to it before the ring I have now, because that's not a book I seem to get through... 


Journal Entry 25 by wingBoekentrolwing at Leeuwarden, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Tuesday, January 04, 2011

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Since I have had this book for some time now, I decided it was time to let you know that I am reading it and I like it. But the reading progress doesn't go as quickly as I had planned or wanted. It'll take me some more time to finish it and send it on.
I do already have the address of the person nex in line, so as soon as I finish, it'll continue its travels.
Thank you for your patience! 


Journal Entry 26 by wingBoekentrolwing at Leeuwarden, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Sunday, January 23, 2011

8 out of 10

I loved this book.
At first I had to get into it, but as the story 'unfolded' (not much to unfold thought, so a better word is 'continued' I guess), it dragged me deeper and deeper into the life of Hiroko and all that aurrounded her.
There were parts missing: Hiroko's time in Nagasaki after the bomb, her recovery and then there was a sudden jump into New York too, but that did not hurt the story very much in my opinion. I just loved the story and was touched by it. The one thing I did not understand was the ending. Since there are more people ho have to read the book, I won't spoil it for them, but that was a big ?...
This book will stay with me for some time.  


Journal Entry 27 by wingBoekentrolwing at Leeuwarden, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Sunday, January 23, 2011

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Released 3 yrs ago (1/24/2011 UTC) at Leeuwarden, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands

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After a read I thouroughly enjoyed this book will travel on to its next reader in Greece: okyrhoe.
Thank you for ringing this book, ApoloniaX!! 


Journal Entry 28 by okyrhoe at Athens, Attica Greece on Tuesday, February 01, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Arrived in Athens :-)

Thanks ApoloniaX for including me in the ring, and Totje2 for posting the book to me! 


Journal Entry 29 by okyrhoe at Athens, Attica Greece on Monday, February 28, 2011

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My review that follows will appear as if I am extremely critical of the novel. I actually enjoyed reading it, and I would recommend it to others. But it failed to 'wow' me....

For some reason the plot of Burnt Shadows seemed a tad too obvious. I could tell more or less what was going to happen, in which direction the scenes were developing. So I was reading at two levels, one to read the plot, and another to sense/study the words on the page. That second aspect however wasn't taking me anywhere. I expected to be engaged by the narrative exposition – looking forward to discover irony, double meanings, etc. - the kind of elements I had previously admired in Shamsie's novel Broken Verses.
Somehow the story and the telling of it, felt as if the novel lacked much of that. In fact, I had the distinct impression the novel was written with a film adaptation in mind. “The English Patient” I thought on a number of times. Eventually I came to the final section’s title, and it validated my impression.
Without saying it's necessarily a bad thing, there were also moments when works by other writers came to mind (Nicole Krauss The History of Love, Stephanie Kallos Broken for You, Marina Lewicka We Are All Made of Glue, Andre Dubus III The House of Sand and Fog). I'm not saying that Shamsie is emulating any of these works, it's just that her novel didn't seem distinctively unique from these other works with similar themes and meanings.
If Burnt Shadows is derivative of any particular story, I bet that Vikram Seth's Two Lives (a biography of his Indian uncle who married a German woman in England after WWII) must have been a major source: Hiroko's stoic quietude is an apt homage to V. Seth's German "Aunty". And for Raza Hazara's character, I would venture to guess the tragic,& complex story of Carlos Mavroleon may have been an inspiration.

The story should have gotten under my skin, but it didn’t. Why not? It's not that I sensed the plot elements lacked credibility, or that these characters' coming together, drawing apart, only to be united again, seemed too farfetched to bear a resemblance to reality. Far from it, it mirrored my own family’s photo album (a journey starting at WWII battle sites in North Africa, to the Kashmir in the early 50's, the Suez and Korea in the 60's, and back to the Middle East crisis in the 70's & 80's) and I had no problem with all these seemingly disparate elements coming together in a six-degrees of separation kind of way.
Nearing the final page of the book, I tried to find the root of my lack of excitement over this novel. One thing that bothered me is the “young” generation's (Kim's and Raza's) lack of a coherent political conscience. At this point I felt the characters lacked a substantial dimension; they became pawns in the storyboard the author was setting up for the final climactic scene. Despite the complexity of their heritage and their "inside" knowledge of history's details, they come off as somewhat naive (in an insular sort of way) and that did not convince me, given their background. More than anything, the last 40-50 pages of the book (the New York section) are the most "screenplayish" of all, where it's all about the plot, there is nothing of the carefully crafted dialogue and scenic descriptions of the first part of the book (the Nagasaki and Dilli sections).
Another thing I felt cheated by is that we are told time and time again that Hiroko and Raza are fascinated by language, yet that is not reflected into the work itself. Having read Shamsie's Broken Verses, where the literary obsession is an integral element of the story, as well as embodied in the words on the page, I expected to find that kind of meta-fictional play at work here, too.

Posting to cinnycat tomorrow.  


Journal Entry 30 by okyrhoe at Bookring, By Post -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, March 01, 2011

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Released 3 yrs ago (3/1/2011 UTC) at Bookring, By Post -- Controlled Releases

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On its way to cinnycat. Enjoy! 


Journal Entry 31 by BookBirds at Central Square, New York USA on Thursday, March 24, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Got this! thanks so much for sharing everyone! I will get to this when I finish my current book... 


Journal Entry 32 by BookBirds at Central Square, New York USA on Monday, April 25, 2011

8 out of 10

I love the idea of including pictures in the book of the places mentioned in the narrative !

The beginning with the love story in Japan (and the writing style a bit) reminded me of David Mitchell's 'The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet' and sure enough, Mitchell is mentioned in the acknowledgements. Interesting. One section also reminded me of 'A Passage to India', though I have never read it, and a few pages later it is actually mentioned in this one. It also reminded me of The Kite Runner. As I knew there were so many tragedies as a centerpiece, I thought maybe Shamsie was trying to benefit by including them. But often the book took place right after or before those events, which I'm not sure is a good or bad thing. Many places and cultures were included here. I loved the first 33 pages in Japan, but then the bomb falls. I would have liked if more of the book took place there. If it wasn't for the places and times mentioned in the chapter headings, I wouldn't have guessed anything that happened as the story went on. So maybe I would have liked to have less of a hint. But overall, I really like Shamsie's writing style (there are many memorable images here) and I'd love to read more.

I have Erishkigal's address but I'm not sure when my PO trip will be. 


Journal Entry 33 by BookBirds at Central Square, New York USA on Thursday, May 12, 2011

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Released 3 yrs ago (5/12/2011 UTC) at Central Square, New York USA

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SO sorry to have kept this so long. Well, it is finally on its way to erishkigal today! 


Journal Entry 34 by wingErishkigalwing at Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Yay~ Burnt Shadows has arrived! I look forward to starting almost immediately~~Thanks for sending this ring out ~ 


Journal Entry 35 by wingErishkigalwing at Salt Lake City, Utah USA on Sunday, June 26, 2011

9 out of 10

Brilliant. Such an expanse of time and space, cultures and ideas, and Shamsie pulled it all together, creating people I cared about, while weaving their tales beautifully. This is the second of her books I've read (the other being Broken Verses), and I am quite taken with the way she writes. She's a writer who both makes me wish I knew her, and that I could write. sigh....

Near the end of the book, while Kim is transporting Abdullah fro NY into Canada, he says to her: "But war-countries like yours [he's talking about the US] they aways fight wars, but always somewhere else. The disease always happens somewhere else. It's why you fight more wars than anyone else; because you understand war least of all. You need to understand it better."

I had to stop reading for awhile when I hit that, and think about it....and s/he may very well have a valid point. At least as one part; and the hubris of my country's government is another.


I have jumpinin's address, I just need to package the book and get to the PO~~given the mail strike in Canada, I just haven't worried about getting it off right away.

edited to add:
just as well. I took this to the PO this afternoon (mon, 27th), only to be told they were not accepting any mail for Canada. Hopefully by my next trip that will have changed. 


Journal Entry 36 by wingjumpinginwing at Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Thursday, July 21, 2011

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Arrived safely. Thanks erishkigal and ApoloniaX! Once I've read it I will ray it forward. 




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