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Broken Verses

Shamsie, Kamila

(Book - 2005)
Average Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5.
Broken Verses
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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.
Publisher: Orlando : Harcourt, c2005
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 0156030535
9780156030533
Branch Call Number: FICTION SHAMSIE
Characteristics: 338 p. ;,21 cm

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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... Read More »


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Jan 23, 2014
  • uncommonreader rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

The heroine of this story is the daughter of an activist, whose partner, "The Poet", was a well-known and loved poet and critic of the regime. Both are dead, but the daughter starts to receive letters written in a code known only to these three people. This is the narrative of the novel. What is is about, however, is the disillusionment and cynicism of the current generation viewing the failure of the activism of their parents' generation, defeated by violence. There are some problems with the novel - the dialogue is often stilted and the ending does not work - but nevertheless, Shamsie presents interesting and thought-provoking ideas, including thoughts about depression in the developing world.

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