Pakistani writer Kamila Shamsie’s latest novel, Burnt Shadows, is an epic story of new beginnings. It opens in 1945 when Hiroko Tanaka, a young Japanese woman, and Konrad Weiss, a German man, fall in love and plan to marry. But their plans are obliterated in an instant when Konrad is killed in the bombing of Nagasaki.
Devastated and alone, Hiroko travels to Delhi, where the memory of her fiancé is alive thanks to Konrad’s half-sister, Elizabeth, and her British husband, James. What follows is an intricate account of the interconnectedness of two families, spanning more than 60 years and five countries. Shamsie’s elegant tale unearths the beauty and pain of migration and urges us all to look at the impact of a world plagued by conflict.