peteg's blog

Kamila Shamsie: A God in Every Stone.

/noise/books | Link

Pankaj Mishra pointed at another book by Shamsie in his Dear Uncle Sam... essay; this one looked the most promising of those I could find at the Chicago Public Library. Shamsie writes some quite fine sentences and sometimes evokes the Peshawar of her imagination, but is let down in the large by focussing overmuch on the fictional parts of her reconstruction of history, at significant cost to the facts. The Englishwoman-archaeologist is too much of a cliché to anchor anything, and who could be so clueless about the status of minorities in hostile host countries? Helen Dunmore has it right. I found the ending conceit, of showing the same scene from three (four?) different perspectives, failed to ratchet up the tension that was clearly intended. I read it over a few days, and substantially finished it between snoozes in Tom Ping Park on Sunday afternoon.