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Burnt Shadows

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,046 ratings  ·  478 reviews
The morning of August 9, 1945 breaks dreary and unspectacular in the city of Nagasaki. Nonetheless, twenty-one year-old Hiroko Tanaka is elated: she is in love. Her emerging romance with the displaced German Konrad Weiss offers release from the greyness of wartime deprivation. In this time of heightened xenophobia, their affair must be kept secret, particularly as Hiroko’s ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Bond Street Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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The Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniThe Watch by Joydeep Roy-BhattacharyaA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniKhost by Vincent HobbesBurnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
5th out of 32 books — 45 voters
Moth Smoke by Mohsin HamidThe Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin HamidA Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed HanifKartography by Kamila ShamsieBullets and Train by Adeerus Ghayan
Notable Books by Pakistani Authors
30th out of 165 books — 176 voters

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Oct 01, 2015 Barbara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Merilee,Maria, Gail
Recommended to Barbara by: Rose O (with gratitude)
Shelves: asia, holocaust-ww-2
"Burnt Shadows" was a gift to me from a friend who valued this book highly. It was a gift for me because it has given me much food for thought. At the outset, I was determined to enjoy this book to share the pleasure with my friend, but as I progressed I could observe why she ranked it so highly.

I will not attempt a summary here. One can easily find that elsewhere. The scope of this novel is huge. It spans about 60 years, from the A- Bomb in Nagasaki, to the partitioning of India and Pakistan,
منذ زمن لم اعطي 5 نجوم.لكن الرواية تستحق كل الخمسة.فالكاتبة جمعت في ذكاء خيوط احداث العالم منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية حتي بعد 11 سبتمبر بسلاسة جميلة.

هذه الصورة تعبر تعبير تام عن الرواية فهي بكل اناقة اوضحت دور العم سام في مصائب العالم.
تحكي الرواية عن فتاة يابانية نجت من نجازاكي وفقدت فيها كل شيء حتي اجزاء من روحها فقدتها مع اجزاء جلدها المحترقة في هذا الجزء توقفت وبحثت فلم اكن قرأت كثيرا عن نجازاكي و اكثر ما هالني الحجج المغرورة للحكومة الامريكية بكل عجرفة يقولون هذا كان لانقاذ حياة الامر
Heba Nouraldeen
أتدري امراً ...هناك من كُتِب عليهم مُعاناة الفقد طيلة حياتهم
وتحت وطأة الخسارة يستكملون الطريق بأرواح مبحوحة..وتظل الذكرى ظلال تلاحقهم وياليتها كأى ظلال ..بل ظلال محترقة...
رحلة إنسانية متنقلة من اليابان حيث قنبلة " ناجازاكي" تُخلف رماداً بل وتُحيل البشر الي ظلال على الحجر ..الي الهند حيث شغب التقسيم ..ثم باكستان والحرب الطاحنة الدائرة في أفغانستان ومن ثم الي نيوريوك
والموت يتخذ كل الأشكال ..حراشف..ظلال ..أشلاء متناثرة..جُثث مُلقاة...
بعد قراءتي لهذة الرواية أدركت امراً هاماً
ليس هناك خطراً يُهدد الإ
A novel with great scope ranging over a vast sweep of modern history, written with great warmth and understanding. The characters are well drawn and believable. Characters with flaws, who make mistakes which have consequences, but who are understandable and feel like real people.
The novel is broken up into three sections. The first is in the 1940s; in 1945 Hiroko Tanaka has become engaged to Konrad Weiss, a German living, like her in Nagasaki. He is killed by the atomic bomb and she is injured.
Khaled Al Desouky
قوية، رائعة، مؤثرة، مُشوقة الي أبعد درجة
من ناجازاكي الي دلهي الي كراتشي الي نيويورك الي أفغانستان تسافر مع أحداث الكتاب الي تلك الأماكن وتفتقد الأماكن السابقة.. أو لا تفتقدها بالمرة!

هيروكو، سجاد، الزي وجايمس غرباء جدا لكن وقت اللقاء أقرباء بطريقة ساحرة.
مآسي ومآسي ما تتكون منه هذه الرواية... ليس بها لحظات جميلة أو حميمية بالقدر الذي تواجدت فيه الأحداث التراجيدية

هي رواية فيها الكثير من المشاعر المتداخلة -وأيضا اللغات- بين شخصياتها ونتاج حياة أشخاص تؤثر علي الكل سواء داخل الرواية أو خارجها

A twisting yarn of a book that struck me as something written fresh on the heels of 9-11. There were certain elements of the plot that I thought were probably even more impactful for readers who read this book a few years after that horrific event.

Beginning in Nagasaki, Japan, just before the second nuclear bomb drops, the story ventures to India, Turkey, Pakistan, and New York as it follows two families, one of German-English and another Japanese-Pakistani extraction. Lives mirror and intersec
João Carlos

The Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, which was obliterated on 9 August 1945. The replacement was built in 1959 - Photograph: Shigeo Hayashi/Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

”Sombras Queimadas” o quinto romance da paquistanesa Kamila Shamsie (n. 1973) está dividido em quatro partes: ”O Mundo ainda Desconhecido” (Nagasáqui, 9 de Agosto de 1945), ”Pássaros Velados” (Deli, 1947), ”Guerreiros Meio-Anjos” (Paquistão, 1982 – 1983) e ”A Velocidade Necessária para Substituir a Perda (Nova Iorque, Afeganistão, 20
I was impressed with the scope of this novel - from Japan to Pakistan to America, and covering about half a century - it touched upon a broad spectrum of cultures, politics and lives, with the twists and turns in the story largely governed by geographic location.

For me it was all about identity, and how a sense of identity can be damaged by the horror of an atomic bomb, or by failing exams, by subterfuge, or by looking different to those around you. But as well as exploring alienation, this boo
رواية مشحونة بالدراما والعاطفة والحزن ..تبدأ أحداثها من 9 أغسطس 1945 بقنبلة ناجازاكي مرورا بالاحتلال السوفيتي لأفغانستان الى باكستان واحداث مابعد الحادي عشر من سبتمبر وعودة مرة أخرى لأفغانستان هذا البلد الذي قال عنة أحد أبطال الرواية (مات جميع من لك ما عدا واحداً ,ياالله ماذا فعل الافغان لحمل كل هذة الاحزان؟) ...رواية ملحمية أتمنى أن يعمل منها فلم
الترجمة بهذه الرواية مش ولابد..النهاية المفتوحة ماأعجبتني دائما ومازلت أكرة النهايات المفتوحة.
I read so much, and so quickly, that it takes a rare exception of a book to send me searching for post-it notes and a pen to write down quotes from the writing. I found the writing in this book so compelling, that I stopped reading everything else for two whole days and just immersed myself in the story of a woman who finds herself in the midst of several acts of war in the lifetime. From Nagasaki where she is scared mentally and physically, to Delhi where she runs with her new husband from the ...more
May 19, 2010 Rose rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all my GR friends
A great read! I highly recommend it. You will feel challenged and enlightened, possibly provoked, and undoubtedly enriched.

Beautiful lyrical prose. This book was an Orange Prize finalist.
Chelsey Clammer
Brilliant. Beautiful. The way that Shamsie deals with trauma, hatred, and racism throughout the novel are astonishing. This book is just so well written--I can't get over it.
The journey from Hiroko Tanaka to an almost Hiroko Konrad and finally, Hiroko Ashraf was intensely poetic and linked to the many absurdities of life. Everything written in the book can be reflected in one simple phrase, "The speed necessary to replace loss." More than a search for identity, Burnt Shadows is a tale about learning the secret about loss. There is no overcoming, just a bitter fading of it and an ever pronounceable taste that can surface anytime.

For Raza Konrad Ashraf, the narration
This book, from the Orange Prize shortlist, has had terribly mixed reviews. How can a book that tries to tie together the bombing of Nagasaki, the partition of India, the Afghan conflict and 9/11 possibly work? Well, it does - I absolutely loved it. Hiroko is a wonderful character - she lives on the page in a way a character hasn't for me in ages, and she's the anchor that holds this enormous story together. The writing is quite beautiful - some of the imagery will really stay with me, but it re ...more
Ehab El Malah
«الظلال المحترقة» للروائية الباكستانية كاميلا شمسي.. أول رواية تترجم لها إلى اللغة العربية..
رواية بديعة.. هائلة وإنسانية.. تمتد زمانيا لأكثر من نصف القرن.. من نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية عام 1945 وحتى ما بعد أحداث الحادي عشر من سبتمبر 2001.. وتنبسط مكانيا من نجازاكي اليابان مرورا بدلهي الهند وكراتشي باكستان ومعسكرات اللاجئين الأفغان على الحدود الأفغانية الباكستانية وختاما بنيويورك الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية..
"هيروكو" الفتاة اليابانية الرقيقة الناجية من مأساة نجازاكي المروعة.. بحروق بارزة على ظه

I finished this last night. Three or four stars? Do I REALLY like it or do I like it. While I was reading it, I REALLY liked it, but with time it is the story that will remain not all the wonderful lines that are so intriguing. I think it will turn into an "I liked it" book. You will thoroughly enjoy the time spent with this book if you enjoyed the quotes below. Don't think three stars means, aacch choose something else. I loved it b/c it was thought provoking. The last third of the b
لم تأخذ منّي مراجعة كل ذلك الوقت في كتابتها كما فعلت هذه الرواية; كنت أكتب السطر أو السطرين في مسوّدَةٍ خارجية, ثمّ أتريّث. ثم أعود لتعديل ما كتبت و أضيف ما تراءى لي أن أضيفه, ثم أتريّث. و كان حالي ما بين التّريّث و التّريّث الذي يليه كحال من يخشى إفساد العمل دون أن يرجو نجاحه! فسلبُ السّلبِ; إيجاب, كما حدّثونا. حتى استقرّ بي الأمر-بعد عشرة أيام أو تزيد- إلى ما هو مكتوبٌ هنا -على نقصِه و عدم كفايته. و يبقى ماهو منقوشٌ هناك في الذاكرة - ذاكرة العقل و ذاكرة الفؤاد- عن الرواية, و عن الجميع, و عن ال ...more
الظلال المحترقة ..... كاملة شمسي

(كانت هناك حكاية عن بنت يزحف ناحيتها أبوها المحتضرفي هيئة سحلية وقد أرعبتها بشاعته حتى إنها استغرقت سنوات لتفهم أن آخر حركة قام بها كانت ناحيتها بعد أن قضى عمره كله يبتعد عنها، وأخرى عن ولد هزوه ليوقظوه من حياته ويخبروه أنها كانت حلمًا، وكذلك كان كل من أحبهم فيها، وأن هذا العالم المتفحم، هذا السجن، هذه الوحدة، هي الحياة الحقيقية. عن كائنات في كتب، بظهور قرمزية، وأعمدة فقرية مكسورة، قدمت نفسها قربانًا، لئلا تعيش في عالم يعتبر كل ما خُط فيه ضربا من الخيال. عن امرأة
Amal Dawas
والعالم يسير كانت نهاية الرواية من قنبلة نجا زاكي الى تقسيم الهند والحرب وملف النووي الباكستاني والهندي وحرب افغانستان والسوفيت والحرب الباردة بين وطالبان واحداث - وذكريات شتى وحيوات متنوعة لامست قارات العالم وملفات تفتح وتغلق من وطن رقم واحد رائعة واكثر من رائعة شكرًا كاملة شمسي لم اترك اي صفحة قد يفوتني حدث يلامس حقيقة واقعة ...more
Zarish Fatima
I started this book with no hope of ever liking it. Mainly because it had names in Japanese and German that i could not pronounce. It was slow in some places but picked the pace in the end.
It is precisely the story of a woman who leaves Japan in hope of a better world trying to out run her past, the story is 55 years of her life from there on.
It shows world at its worst and how love, friendship, forgiveness and loyalty can still exist in it. How every decision we make is not independent it conc
Anum Shaharyar
She had not thought of destination so much as departure, wheeling through the world with the awful freedom of someone with no one to answer to. She had become, in fact, a figure out of myth. The character who loses everything and is born anew in blood. In the stories these characters were always reduced to a single element: vengeance or justice. All other components of personality or part shrugged off.

This book is amazing. No, scratch that. Amazing is probably too weak a word here. Think Astoun

Maybe it’s because I spent a good part of my college years studying trauma and how people experience and record it; maybe because World War II and its fallout—both figurative and literal—is a topic I find myself drawn to again and again (my thesis was based on an oral history project I conducted that recorded the stories of college students-turned-soldiers in the ‘40s.) Maybe it’s because the writing is so damn lush, the characters so real. Whatever the reason, Ka
I am absolutely loving this book! Favorite quotes so far:

(On debates regarding the formation of Pakistan) And so it went on and on, and in each group Sajjad found those who made complete sense and in each group also those whose opinions made him want to scatter seeds over the speakers so the pigeons would swoop down and stop their words with a tumult of feathers.

(On the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki) ...he knew by her voice that he was going to hear something that she would sp
I actually enjoyed reading it, and I would recommend it to others. But it failed to 'wow' me....
For some reason the plot 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, doubl
Hiroko Tanaka's life has been irrevocably marred by the American bombing of Nagasaki in the summer of 1945. Not only did she lose her father, village, and way of life, but also the young German artist Konrad, with whom she was beginning a relationship. After the kimono she was wearing in the blast becomes fused with her skin, she bears scars shaped like birds across her back. It is with these painful scars and memories that she leaves Japan, unable to find her place in society after the war. Hir ...more
Huda Bukhari
Undoubtedly a 5.0.

How swiftly the author has swept through the eras; three generations suffering at the fate of hand.. and war. How effortlessly she has woven the myriad of ideas, linking them with each other through real life occurrences is particularly commendable.

Not only is this novel thought provoking but it also tells a tale of recent times. How war is bringing nothing but turmoil and destruction. How misunderstandings and lack of communication gives chance for evil to prosper and one to
Perhaps if the book had finished in Pakistan, it would have been a better novel. Too intricately woven, drudgingly long, and missing strands of logic here and there, this book seemed like one of Sydney Sheldon's. Although I musts ay, the dialogues at the end of the book were some of the very best ones! That could be the reason for the critical acclaim, the insight of the author related to the wars of nations!
Bharath Ramakrishnan
Burnt Shadows is an unusual story. There are strong characters in Hiroko and Sajjad which make for great reading. The story comes across as somewhat contrived though, moving from Nagasaki to Delhi to Pakistan to New York. The motivation and behaviour of some of the characters; especially Raza is difficult to understand. The book moves well towards the end and finishes with some good sequences, examining attitudes and stereotypes, and tragedy which hides behind the so called larger good. For the ...more
Faith Spinks
Excellent book. picked it up on a whim in my hotel while travelling - partly it was the only one in english, but it also sounded interesting. I was not wrong and as a result had far too many late nights reading after I was done with work for the day.

This is a hard story to summarise and maintain a sense of the impact. The story runs from Nagasaki, Japan where Hiroko Tanaka steps out on to her balcony and in the flash of a moment when her world turns white her life is changed forever. As she tri
The novel, which begins slowly (Nagasaki, WW2) somehow becomes so compelling by the middle (India, NY) that I simply could not put it down, and the ending is outstanding (Afghanistan, NY)-- lots of lessons, important ones, effective writing, interesting locales, and the ending is SO good perhaps I should have given this a 5.
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Kamila Shamsie is a Pakistani novelist, who writes in the English language. She was brought up in Karachi and attended Karachi Grammar School.

She has a BA in Creative Writing from Hamilton College, and an MFA from the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she was influenced by the Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali.

Kamila wrote her first novel, In The C
More about Kamila Shamsie...

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“How to explain to the earth that it was more functional as a vegetable patch than a flower garden, just as factories were more functional than schools and boys were more functional as weapons than as humans.” 21 likes
“The world won’t get more or less terrible if we’re indoors somewhere with a mug of hot chocolate,’ Kim said. ‘Though it’s possible it will seem slightly less terrible if there are marshmallows in the hot chocolate.” 14 likes
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