28 April 2011

burnt shadows

a beautiful novel by kamila shamsie. in every sense of the word - beautiful prose, beautiful sentiment, beautiful characters, a beautiful world (even amidst wars and blood, pain and loss). it soothed me when i first started reading it -again, it was one of those novels that came when its presence was needed. it evokes memories of the gift of rain. i will look for shamsie's other books -there's four of them, yay!

"The old man shakes his head, aware of the foolishness he is exhibiting in staring at the young woman who is entirely unaware of him, but grateful, too, for something in the world which can still prompt foolishness in him."

"..as for justice, it seemed an insult to the dead to think there could be any such thing."

"I love that about the Americans-the way they see certain kinds of craziness as signs of character."

"..until you see a place you've known your whole life reduced to ash you don't realise how much we crave familiarity.. I want to hear Japanese. I want tea that tastes the way tea should taste in my understanding of tea. I want to look like the people around me. I want people to disapprove when I break the rules and not simply to think that I don't know better. I want doors to slide open instead of swinging open."

"'but I'm at home in the idea of foreigness'. When Hiroko heard her say that she knew she'd found a friend."

"If the greatest loss of his life is the loss of a dream he's always known to be a dream, then he's among the fortunate ones."

"He almost laughed at this strange hierarchy which placed the law above advice by an elder.."

"That was the thing about Harry Burton which made his smiles so impossible to resist -when he said a thing, he meant it. For that moment."

"A city in which she could hear Urdu, English, Japanese, German all in the space of a few minutes. The miracle of it! Sometimes she rode the subways, overheard conversations her only destination."

"Nothing foreign about foreignness in this city. 'Like Marry Poppins' handbag', Ilse had said to explain how much the little island of Manhattan could hold within it. She felt she had been waiting all her life to arrive here."

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