We went on holiday. The husband and I flew across the Atlantic to the sun-loving shores of Rio de Janeiro, hoping to get two weeks of relaxation and much deserved heat. The winter months of the nordics had eaten away at our souls, leaving only a cold hollow shell… or something like it. Let’s just say it was a necessary measure to bring us out of the dark gloom of seemingly never-ending nights. And boy did we get what we paid for!
We spent days walking along the tiled paths of Ipanema and Copacabana, spent a few days on Ilha Grande in a cute little pousada with erratic electricity (internet woe!), but most of our hours were spent on sand. And what better way than to spend multiple days on a gorgeous beach with a good book? Or two, or three, or four…? Logging on to my Kindle (from the beach!! LOVING the wi-fi) to check out the KDD’s of the day I was pleasantly surprised to see myself accessing the US amazon site rather than my normal UK one. Heaven! And as it was also world book day I got ten amazing book offers at bargain prices. I couldn’t believe my luck, but it certainly didn’t end there. As usual I recognised none of the books on offer but happily browsed through the blurbs and picked a few to purchase.
One of those books was Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie. The description was interesting and I like a bit of history with my fiction so it wasn’t a hard sell. I am so incredibly pleased I bought it as it is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read this year. We get to follow the equally tragic and uplifting life of Hiroko Tanaka, a japanese woman who survives the US nuclear bombing of Nagasaki. Her lover is killed in the blast and her life is turned inside out. Armed with a gift for languages she sets off to find herself and the woman she has yet to become. It is a journey that takes her, and her newly formed family, through an unsettled India, into Pakistan and Afghanistan to finally end up on the east coast of America, the country that had been instrumental in nearly all of her heartbreak.
I would recommend this to anyone. Male or female, literary lover or historical buff. It is written with such instinctive prose, and with a fluidity to rival Murakami (gasp! yes, it is true) that I honestly believe anyone who likes to read would enjoy this title.