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Burnt Shadows

by Kamila Shamsie

Kamila Shamsie weaves a tale through the lives of two families, across three continents, that encapsulates all the horror of war in this present age, from Nagasaki to the Partition riots to Afghanistan to 9/11 to Afghanistan again. And through it all shines that wonderful defiant human spirit that somehow, from somewhere, finds the courage to say 'No'. And then wonders 'How did it come to this?'

Extract

James Burton. It was all his fault they were here.
He had been so convincing that evening when Sajjad and Hiroko walked into the Burton cottage, Sajjad desperately self-conscious because of the wet patches on his clothes, and said they were married. It was obvious the Burtons had expected the news, if not the timing of it. Elizabeth had at least pretended some happiness, but James had taken Sajjad by the arm and walked him outside.
'You can't take her to Delhi,' he'd said.

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