This book, THE BURNT SHADOWS is one such perfect example. It made me so emotional and sad and withdrawn in my shell, that it took days to get over that tragic melancholy!!! Nevertheless, I would rather read a book which garners such an impactful reaction from me, than a so-called light read where you can literally shut your brain off and just let it all flow!
It is very difficult to write the summary of a story of this magnitude with a scope so huge. It spans about 60 years, from the A-Bomb in Nagasaki to the partitioning of India and Pakistan, to war-torn Afghanistan and to post 9/11 America.
This is a profound and powerful novel of family, nations, and wars. If you ask me, I found two-three themes in this story to be very interesting and relatable. First of all is the power of language, not solely as the means of communication, but as a cultural and attitudinal divide.
Second of all was is how identity plays a very important role in our lives and how a sense of identity can be damaged by the horror of an atomic bomb, or by failing exams, by subterfuge, or by looking different to those around you.
Another intriguing theme which stood out was what happens when we try to be nice to others and "do good" to them without treating them as equals, resulting in far-reaching, inhumane and humiliating consequences.
Besides all this, this book is special as it explores the wonderful ties that bind people together. The loves, the loyalties and the sense of belonging that makes up the beautiful and intricate web of our lives, the knots of which cannot be snapped by a sudden breeze or disturbance.
It is an intelligently written story wherein Shamsie has explained some of recent history’s more complex issues through a family saga.
The characters are well drawn and believable. They are shown with flaws, making mistakes that have serious consequences. Although it is these traits that make the characters more humane and relatable.
Its a good read albeit a very emotionally draining one (true for me, at least)!!