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Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie
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Broken Verses

by Kamila Shamsie

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2451172,547 (3.72)32
Years after her renowned Pakistani poet father is killed by government thugs and her activist mother disappears, Aasmaani, an employee at Pakistan's first independent television station, begins to receive a series of letters written in her mother's private code.
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» See also 32 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie, published 2005 is a book about women political activists, mother-daughter relationships set in Pakistan during the seventies/eighties/nineties. The Poet is found brutally murdered and two years later his lover and female activists Samina Akram disappears leaving her daughter Aasmani once again abandoned. Aasmani never quite believes that these two important people in her life are gone for good. Her mother has left so many times that she is sure she will return again. This book is an interesting look at modern day Pakistan and feminism in this Islamic country.

Quotes:
"Dreams are sometimes rehearsals" pg 1
"watching someone die gives you anew way of learning to love them" page 23
"That they , too, were creating a story would not occur to them. If enough people believe a thing, belief becomes indistinguishable from truth, and they cannot see how anyone with the same facts as they possess could ever reach a different conclusion except through stubbornness, denial, or a willful misreading of the situation.
"Prayer is as quiet and is resonate as a single raindrop falling on a desert."

character is an invention...invented narratives--determine actions and reactions...reasons and justification, self-fulfilling prophecy.

The book presented Poet (art) as activism and political activism as equal.

The quote on page 335 sums up one theme of this book "a nation needs to be reminded of all the components of its character. That's what we do when we resist" and the other themes are grief and loss.

I found the book hard to read. I could easily set it down and walk away. Even with the subject matter of grief, loss, forgiveness and the look at modern day Pakistan. It just did not hold my interest.

Rating; solid 3 stars ( )
  Kristelh | Aug 30, 2017 |
In my effort to read all things Shamsie to prepare for reviewing her latest. I had the same issue I've had with most of her books - the premise is great but they are so overwritten and issue laden. I think she creates overly complex plots. It may be why Home Fire is such a success- to me- because she follows the plot of Antigone fairly closely.

At the same time, I am grateful for how willing she is to grapple with tough subjects.

In Broken Verses, a young woman tries to sort out what happened to her mother and the mother's lover, a famous poet, both of whom disappeared from Pakistan decades previous. There's mystery and a love story and lots of day-to-day in a young woman's life. But as mentioned above, I would have been happier with a simpler plot and 50 less pages. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Jun 25, 2017 |
This book is less a mystery and more an ode to grief and the many ways we manage to injure ourselves and others. ( )
  Nero56 | Aug 31, 2015 |
A subtle and beautiful character-driven novel of family, love, loss, grief and ultimately hope. Probably my favorite read this year. ( )
  akeela | Sep 19, 2013 |
This novel is about a daughter's search for her mother who disappeared, and her mother's lover, The Poet, who is presumed dead. It was was lovely, heartbreaking, and brilliant. ( )
1 vote bookwoman247 | Aug 20, 2013 |
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