Broken Verses (Paperback)

By Kamila Shamsie

Mariner Books, 9780156030533, 352pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 2005



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 the Author

KAMILA SHAMSIE is the author of five novels: In the City by the Sea, Kartography (both shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), Salt and Saffron, Broken Verses and Burnt Shadows, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and has been translated into more than 20 languages. She is a trustee of English PEN and Free Word, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Writers of 2013. She grew up in Karachi and now lives in London.

Praise For Broken Verses

"[Shamsie] packs her story with the playful evidence of her high-flying intelligence."-SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

"This 30-year-old has been described as a young Anita Desai, and her third book, about childhood, love, life and high society in Karachi during the turbulent 1990s, is worth all the prepublication fuss." -HARPER'S BAZAAR

"Shamsie carries the reader along on Aasmaani''s slow journey of discovery with magnetic and beguiling prose, intelligence and wit."

"Admirable. [And] Aasmaani''s voice - shifting from anger to vulnerability - drives the intriguing story."

"Broken Verses speaks to the power of words in an age of repression, played against the turbulent history of Pakistan."

"A fresh literary look at modern-day Pakistan. [A] sparse, at times beautiful meditation on love, forgiveness, and letting go. B+."

"An utterly riveting tale. Shamsie has created one of the most compelling characters to appear in recent fiction."

"[The main character] herself is this strong novel''s greatest strength. She''s a remarkable narrator, in a thoroughly captivating tale."

"A beautifully written tale that is equal parts A.S. Byatt-style mystery and mother-daughter saga. [D]eftly infused with humor and romance."<br>

"This novel is about mothers and daughters, life in a repressive society, and falling in love. Gorgeously written."
-author of Booklust

"Turbulent Karachi is the backdrop for this intriguing, shimmeringly intelligent fourth novel with its wry, fetching, captivating, and unexpected heroine."

"Shamsie''s love for and knowledge of the people of today''s Karachi shine through this compelling tale."

"A gripping read."

"Broken Verses isn''t just well-written, it''s practically poetry. A before-bed-in-front-of-the-fire-with-your-favorite-cup-of-tea read."