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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  3,044 ratings  ·  280 reviews
Karim and Raheen have been friends from birth. Raheen stays in their home city of Karachi when Karim moves to London. As the years pass a barrier of silence grows between them. When civil strife threatens Karachi they are painfully reunited.
Published March 1st 2005 by Bloomsbury UK (first published October 1st 2001)
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Salma Alashhab Because he was already in love with her, and Yasmin was also in love with Zafar, so once the engagement broke they both reverted to their original lov…moreBecause he was already in love with her, and Yasmin was also in love with Zafar, so once the engagement broke they both reverted to their original love (especially that Ali & Yasmine were not in love and they only got engaged to each other because they thought they lost their love and will never find someone to marry them)(less)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,044 ratings  ·  280 reviews

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Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary_fiction
Kamila Shamsie is one of the best novelists I've ever read. Period. Her grasp of craft is impressive, especially since she's now only published four novels, this one being her second. Her characters are always multidimensional, and she's not afraid to make her narrator a bit unsympathetic at times (or just good at making mistakes that make you frustrated, even while you keep reading because you want to find out that she fixes them eventually). Her evocation of Pakistan both in 1971 during the at ...more
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The trouble with books that end poorly is that no matter how much you enjoyed the beginning, it's always those last few pages, that collapsed narrative, those damning passages that linger in your memory. You forget, several years later, how much you relished the first 200 pages, how tightly the prose gripped you, how quickly you devoured it. And so when I slammed Kartography shut, exhausted by the redundance of its last 50-70 pages, I tried to separate the beginning - that I did race through - f ...more
Joy D
Set in Karachi, Pakistan, Raheen and Karim have known each other from infancy. Their parents are best friends. The narrative follows their evolving relationship in the 1980s and 1990s, mixed with flashbacks to their parents’ lives before and immediately after marrying in 1971, the year East Pakistan parted from West Pakistan and became Bangladesh. As they get older, Karim becomes interested in understanding the ethnic conflicts, violence, and corruption in Karachi, while Raheen retreats from it. ...more
Viv JM
I loved this book. On the one hand, it's a story about love and friendships and growing up. On the other, it takes on much bigger themes - betrayal, forgiveness, morals. I don't know why I have never read Kamila Shamsie before, but I definitely want to read more of her work after reading this.
I was all ready to give this book 4 stars until the final 2 pages. I'm curious to know what others thought of the ending, but (without writing a spoiler review) I don't understand it AT ALL. It's in a completely different writing style than the rest of the book (i.e. almost a confusing poem style, not a book/story style). I was left not understanding at all what happened to the main characters in the book. I loved the story, even better loved all the book characters: Raheen, Karim, Sonia and Zia ...more
Abdullah Khalid
2.5 stars to be exact.
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remembered loving the book when I read it a few years ago. Yesterday as I finished the book in one sitting, I remembered why I'd loved it as much as I did.

The premise is touted as a love story between "soul-mates" Raheen and Karim, set amidst ethnic and political factions in Karachi. This in itself covers a lot of issues such as ethnic, religious and socio-economic prejudices, changing history, redemption, forgiveness, whether one big consequential action defines a person, as well as the conc
Can angels lie spine to spine?
If not, how they must envy us humans

GOD!!! The Ending…!!! O-O
I read and re-read it for many times. It was kind of out of nowhere…
Kamila did a great job. And she has a way with words…

I can see you, out there, reading between the lines.
Come home, stranger.
Come home, untangler of my thoughts.
Come home and tell me, what do I do with this breaking heart of mine?

And thank god, I didn’t miss the following paragraph!!!

In Karachi’s streets even the mourners turn their fa
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Raheen and Karim are childhood friends living in Karachi,Pakistan.Each one's father used to be engaged to the other's mother,until the events of 1971 forced them to swap partners.

As in several of Shamsie's books,the setting is Karachi,that sprawling and dangerous mega city,where violence is and has been a way of life.Karim is interested in maps and Karachi's "Kartography."

There is another familiar theme,partition of the subcontinent in 1947.It is not something Shamsie is too happy about and the
Fatima Beg
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with a connection to Karachi and a liking of esoteric notions of destiny
Shelves: novels
A very quick read. Not very special. Probably good if you want something easy for your next long flight.

Though Shamsie depicts some pecularities of Pakistani society very accurately her main theme is not capturing. She believes too much in the perfect match and destiny. Her message is well intended but her insight to the differences in society (rich and poor, generational conflicts, historical implications and the East-West culture) remain superficial. I didn't learn anything new from her.
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pakistani-lit
SPOILERS Ahead. Consider yourself warned!!

Kartography is a book set in my dear hometown, Karachi. I guess that is reason enough to love it; but that is not the only reason. At it's heart, Kartography is a beautiful love story between two childhood best friends who are a made-for-each-other just takes them some time to reconcile to that fact.

I loved the description of Karachi and I also hated it at the same time because it was so very true. The road near 2 talwar, I guess it's al
I was going to give this a 4, but then had to settle for a 3.5 (3 on Goodreads) due to the very fact that the author, in the name of whatever-you-call-it, introduces something at the very end of the book.

I was drawn to this book by its title (which finds an explanation in the book in a nice way) and the Goodreads' blurb. Fiction set in Pakistan is always something that I look forward to reading (particularly after Moth Smoke) and it helps that the author is a native of Pakistan and knows the geo
Osamah Shahid
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Love this book with all its faults. I accept this book with all its good and the bad things. Just like I accept my Family with all its faults.
While reminiscing my childhood days spent with my cousins at my grandparents home, it dawns upon me that how innocent we were to never understand the family politics, and how our minds were too preoccupied with broken knees and teasing each other that we never thought that we all will one day drift apart. How we didn't know about the family secrets, the
Miriam Cihodariu
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pakistan
Mixed but mostly positive feelings about this one. The drama of two (and more) several entangled families unwinds slowly, with a masterful build-up and a perfect stirring of curiosity. The story manages to be a very good page-turner, on that account.

Things I liked not so much: the way some of the characters seem to make an unrealistically big deal out of things or to end things (at least temporarily) with big dramatic gestures and lines. Another thing I am uneasy over is the way the main female
This book is too real. There are too many feelings here. I'm sure somebody who isn't a Karachiite wouldn't feel the same way I did when I read this, but to me, it was just a reminder of the insane love I hold for Karachi even when I hate it in my most superficial moments.
Aiman   Iqbal

The story revolves around Raheen and Karim, two best friends who were born in love with each other and who finish sentences for each other , their other two friends Zia and Sonia, their parents (who also happen to be best friends) and their other friends all of whom belong to the elite class of a battle-scarred Karachi.

As the story proceeds, we learn that Karim's mother (who's of Bengali descent) and Raheen's Father were once very much in love and engaged and Karim's father was engaged to Rahee
I am done, done and done with this novel and can't just stop being thankful to the friend who suggested it to me. I am so in love with this tale of human errors, decisions and forgiveness and above all my fav fav topic :friendships and bonds.
Reading this book for much like diving headlong into this new world with 3D glasses whereby everything is different and new and so much more alive than you can ever have thoughts. The strong bond of friendship between these two groups of friends and a huge
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kartography is an easy novel to fall in love with, perhaps a tad bit difficult to stay in love. Shamsie translates the turmoils of a Nation torn by Civil War into intricately explored personal stories of falling in love and falling out of love. Karachi, alive and breathing, is perhaps the most vivid character in the novel; and the smells and sounds of Karachi stay with you long after you finish the story.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
As someone who is from Karachi and who loves living in Karachi - my relationship with my home is quite a complicated thing to explain. Karachi never gets any good press, its dirty, unattractive, chaotic - at the same time to me its - charming, energetic, vibrant, challenging, comfortable and thick-skinned. Also, I read a lot of foreign literature - particularly from the West because I often do not connect to local literature (for whatever odd reason - ive read a lot of books about spices (cliche ...more
Harry Rutherford
Kartography is my book from Pakistan for the Read The World challenge. It’s a novel set in Karachi in the 90s with flashbacks to the 70s and particularly the 1971 civil war when East Pakistan became Bangladesh. Raheen and Karim have a tangled relationship which parallels, and is haunted by, the tangled relationships of their parents twenty years earlier. It’s a love story, a family saga, a book about ethnic and class tensions in Pakistan.

Given that the Read The World challenge has lead me to som
pani Katarzyna
This was a fairly effortless and enjoyable read. The novel traces the lives of young people who live in Karachi, Pakistan. All of them from rich backgrounds, which already limits the scope of described environment by a whole lot. The main character, Raheen, is a spoiled and somewhat annoying girl, who has a special connection with her all-life friend Karim. When they get older they inevitably harbor feelings for each other but there is something in their parents' past that poses a hefty obstacle ...more
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I have read of hers, the first being Broken Verses, and she just keeps getting better with everything I read of hers. I am beginning to think she understands my soul. Her tactful and fair handling of the sentiments many people in West Pakistan had towards Bengalis in '71, her mastery in dealing with emotions and building those emotions, and her brilliance with words is just mesmerizing. I don't know what it is but I can't seem to be getting enough of her work.
Read it.
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. What an amazing story of Karachi,amazingly written. A recommended read for anyone who has spent life in Karachi.
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summer Bingo-One word title
This is a beautifully told story about love, relationships, and coming of age in war torn Pakistan...and, I couldn't imagine a more perfect ending.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant read on Karachi ...a city that never sleeps and the streets have no names
Sabita Bhattarai
Nice. I'd like to read more from this writer. Also, how well she describes Karachi.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to pick Home Fire over Kartography as being a better novel, but that said, this is also exquisitely done. Set primarily in Karachi, the novel follows the teen main characters into adulthood. Their relationships with their parents and each other are forever altered, and arguably tainted, by events in their parents' pasts. As those secrets are slowly and separately learned by the teens/young adults, the consequences play out. The prose is lovely; the plots twists and turns are not predictab ...more
Lara Zuberi
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kartography is the story of Raheen, and her best friend Karim, who grow up together, and are then separated during their teenage years. Raheen's father was once engaged to Karim's mother, and her mother was once engaged to his father, yet the families strangely maintained close ties. The reasons behind the broken engagements, as well as the sequence in which they happened remains unknown to both Raheen and Karim, and complicates their relationship when hidden truths emerge. Their close friends Z ...more
Shehroze Ameen
this book is a waste of time. You realize that after 292 pages.

The character's perspective - here speaking of Raheen, Zafar, Zia, Karim, Maheen, Yasmin, Uncle Waqar all in one, because they are merely one big construct - is shallow. I understand that this book is trying to indicate how the country was affected by the 1971 civil war and how the first generation of children born after 1971 could possibly have been influenced by the aftershocks of that war, but they are predictable, shallow, and i
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zafar, Maheen, Ali and Yasmin. Karim, Raheen, Zia and Sonia. Two quartets about to face the same fate but thank God history doesn’t repeat itself in its totality. I had half believed that it would. That there would be partner swapping again but thankfully things take a nice turn.

Kartography is a gripping novel. It brings forward a new meaning of maps. Maps as real storytellers which remind an individual of his situatedness in the bigger circle where he finds himself connected to a beggar girl o
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Play Book Tag: [Poll Ballot] Kartography by Kamila Shamsie - 4 stars 1 4 Sep 14, 2020 11:22AM  

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Kamila Shamsie was born in 1973 in Karachi, where she grew up. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. While at the University of Massachusetts she wrote In The City By The Sea , published by Granta Books UK in 1998. This first novel was shortlisted for the John Llewelyn Rhys Award in the UK, and Shamsie rec ...more

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