Search this site. Raheen and her best friend, Karim, share an idyllic childhood in upper-class Karachi. Rich in emotional coloratura and wordplay. Lewis [PDF] by C. A Year with C. Willow Wilson.

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The trauma of war is typically gauged by loss of lives and property, not broken hearts, but the microcosm is often as powerful an indicator of loss as the macrocosm—or so Shamsie seems to say in her latest novel, a shimmering, quick-witted lament and love story. Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, is a place under constant siege: ethnic, factional, sectarian and simply random acts of violence are the order of the day.

This violence—and the lingering legacy of the civil war of —is the backdrop for the story of Raheen and Karim, a girl and boy raised together in the s and '80s, whose lives are shattered when a family secret is revealed. The two friends and their families are members of the city's wealthy elite, personified in its shallowness by family members like Raheen's supercilious Aunt Runty and in guilty social conscience by Karim himself.

This is a complex novel, deftly executed and rich in emotional coloratura and wordplay the title is inspired by Karim's burgeoning obsession with mapmaking, and spelled with a "k" after the city's name. But Shamsie's novel deals more with ghosts than cities: ghosts of relationships, ghosts of childhood, ghosts of love.

A ghost is said to haunt a tree where Raheen's father—once engaged to Karim's mother—carved their initials long ago. Two ghosts representing Karim and Raheen walk an invisible city in Raheen's Calvino tribute. As someone said to Raheen: "There's a ghost of a dream you don't even try to shake free of because you're too in love with the way she haunts you.

Forecast: Shamsie's cerebral, playful style sets her apart from most of her fellow subcontinental writers. Something of a cross between Arundhati Roy and Salman Rushdie, she deserves a larger readership in the U. During the Covid crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below. View Full Version of PW.

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Search: Title Author Article. Rate this book. Crib mates, raised together from birth, narrator Raheen and her best friend Karim dream each other's dreams, finish each other's sentences, speak in a language of anagrams. They share an idyllic childhood in upper-class Karachi with parents who are also best friends, even once engaged to the other until they rematched in what they jokingly call "the fiancee swap. What she uncovers takes us back two decades to reveal a story not just of a family's turbulent history but that of a country - and brings us forward to a grown-up Raheen and Karim drawn back to each other in the city that is their true home. Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.


Byrne on Shamsie, 'Kartography'

Speak in anagrams and lie spine to spine. They are irrevocably bound to one another and to Karachi, Pakistan, a city that is violent, polluted, corrupt, vibrant, brave and ultimately, home. As the years go by, they let a barrier of silence build between them until they are brought together during a summer of strikes and ethnic violence and their relationship stands poised between strained friendship and fated love. Kartography is about ties and bindings in relationships: between friends, between spouses and between a city and its people. As is wont to happen when you read books by the same author, I started comparing Kartography with Homefire and Burnt Shadows. Kartography starts with two 13 yr olds Raheen who is the narrator and Karim, her childhood friend, doing what precocious soon to be teenage children do: wonder aloud on a hundred myriad things, wary of the outer world around them and mindless of what is coming their ways. Of course, the year is and Raheen and Karim both belong to the privileged upper class of Karachi thereby cocooning them initially from the strife and the unease that has set in Pakistan but gradually enough, the two are exposed to how their lives can be touched by violence and ethnic tensions erupting around them.


Love, betrayal, sacrifice... and humour

Kamila Shamsie. London: Bloomsbury, No price listed paper , ISBN The making of maps is about more than objective representation of different places and their distances from one another. It also involves tracing how different spaces have very different meanings and associations to different people.

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