Broken Verses: A Novel by Kamila Shamsie
I’m getting on the Shamsie-bandwagon a little late … and backwards, not surprisingly. Since she’s coming to the Smithsonian this fall for SALTAF 2009 (and might I repeat how thrilled we are!), I figured I better finish her titles before she gets here!
Like her latest, Burnt Shadows, Broken Verses is another multi-layered book. Aasmaani is a sad, lost young woman, still searching for elusive answers about her life, about her family, as she enters her 30s. Her mother, Samina, who was quite possibly Pakistan’s greatest feminist activist, disappeared 14 years ago without a trace, much less a farewell note of any kind for her abandoned daughter. Two years previous, Samina’s lover, known by most as simply ‘The Poet’ because of his heart-stopping literary prowess, was reportedly tortured and murdered by the unstable government.
Aasmaani’s leftover family – father, stepmother, and sister – as beloved as they are, cannot keep her lonely suffering away. Then most unexpectedly, Samina’s best friend Shehnaz, a legendary actress about to make her filmic comeback, presents Aasmaani with a puzzling note, written in the secret code that Samina and the Poet shared. Shehnaz’s mysterious son, recently returned from NYC post-9/11, plays the enigmatic messenger. Against all logic, Aasmaani begins to believe that the Poet might be alive, perhaps even her mother, as well. And so the unrelenting quest begins …
Published: 2005 (United States)