Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie

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Fourteen years ago, famous Pakistani activist Samina Akram disappeared. Two years earlier, her lover, Pakistan's greatest poet, was beaten to death by government thugs. In present-day Karachi, her daughter Aasmaani has just discovered a letter in the couple's private code-a letter that could only have been written recently.

Aasmaani is thirty, single, drifting from job to job. Always left behind whenever Samina followed the Poet into exile, she had assumed that her mother's disappearance was simply another abandonment. Then, while working at Pakistan's first independent TV station, Aasmaani runs into an old friend of Samina's who gives her the first letter, then many more. Where could the letters have come from? And will they lead her to her mother?

Merging the personal with the political, Broken Verses is at once a sharp, thrilling journey through modern-day Pakistan, a carefully coded mystery, and an intimate mother-daughter story that asks how we forgive a mother who leaves.


About Kamila Shamsie

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KAMILA SHAMSIE was born in 1973 in Karachi. She has studied and taught in the USA. Two of her previous novels, Kartography and Broken Verses, have won awards from Pakistan's Academey of Letters. She writes for The Guardian (UK) and frequently broadcasts on the BBC.
Published June 1, 2005 by Mariner Books. 356 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Broken Verses

Kirkus Reviews

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She has received these letters from a nameless fan, and, remembering that Aasmaani’s mother and the Poet corresponded in code, she passes the notes to Aasmaani.

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The Guardian

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Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie 338pp, Bloomsbury, £15.99 Set in Karachi, and focused on the last three decades of Pakistani society and politics, Kamila Shamsie's richly woven fourth novel explores the relationship of a young and somewhat listless elite to a previous age of grander spirit and ...

Apr 16 2005 | Read Full Review of Broken Verses

BC Books

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Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie’s new novel, perhaps her most accomplished in several ways, could more effectively be used to build bridges without raising the ire of any political group.

Sep 23 2005 | Read Full Review of Broken Verses

Entertainment Weekly

When she encounters a woman who possesses a link to her past — a document written in a code known only by Aasmaani, her mother, and her lover — Aasmaani initiates a quest to reconnect with her long-lost parent and, ultimately, herself.

Jun 08 2005 | Read Full Review of Broken Verses

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