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Broken Verses

by Kamila Shamsie

Fourteen years ago, Aasmaani's mother, Samina, disappeared from her life, distraught at the murder of the Poet, her true love. Aasmaani continues to believe both are still alive - a belief made all the stronger when she starts to receive letters in a code previously used by Samina and the Poet. However, as Aasmaani searches for the truth, this compelling novel leads us to a dramatic revelation.

Extract

He came to sit next to me on the sofa and touched the back of my hand very lightly. 'She told me about the code your mother and the Poet used. She told me she thought those garbled lines might be written in code. That's why I was angry with her for sending it to you. I thought she wasn't taking into account how you might feel about getting something you couldn't read and then wondering if it was your mother and the Poet's code. That's why, even with the second set of pages, I didn't know whether to give them to you or not. I was, I'll be honest, I was on my way to shred them when I heard a sound from your office and I went in to see if you were OK. I didn't intend for you to get these pages. I don't ....' He ran his hand over his face. 'Look, my mother told me you still think your mother is alive and,' he held up his hands before I could react, as though anticipating a blow, 'I'm not saying she isn't. I don't know, I ... that's your thing, your situation ... I'm just ... I don't think getting pages of weird writing you can't read but which you imagine is written by her will help anything. I saw that covering letter. It's obviously some crazy fan of my mother's. They send her all kinds of oddball stuff, just to get her attention.'

'Ed, I can read it.'

'Oh.' He leaned back against the sofa cushions. 'Oh. Oh, God. I really was going to shred it.'

Parallels

Fiona Range by Mary McGarry Morris
In the City by the Sea by Kamila Shamsie
 

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