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Summary

In a prison cell in the US, a man stands trembling, naked, fearfully waiting to be shipped to Guantánamo Bay. How did it come to this? he wonders.

August 9th, 1945, Nagasaki. Hiroko Tanaka takes in the view of the terraced slopes leading up to the sky. Wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across the back, she is twenty-one and in love with the man she is to marry.

In a split second, the world turns white. In the next, it explodes with the sound of fire and the horror of realisation. In the numbing aftermath of a bomb that obliterates everything she has known, all that remains are the bird-shaped burns on her back, an indelible reminder of the world she has lost. In search of new beginnings, she travels to Delhi two years later....

©2009 Kamila Shamsie (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Burnt Shadows

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My lord

Excellent writing and story. The narrator is good except - and this is a big except - her pronunciation is terrible. This occurs with words in other languages, for example essential Arabic words, and also the way characters speak English with an accent. It’s a wonder she wasn’t given any guidance on pronunciation, and a pity as a aside form that she is very good. Honestly cringed so much as basic words were said completely wrong.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A captivating story, beautifully read.

The story spans a number of countries and captures international politics and the complexities of inter-cultural and inter-generational relationships. It's a beautifully written book (beautifully read by Jan McDowell). I never wanted to it to end, and the characters have stayed with me long after.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story, poor job with accents

I liked the story, but the narrator did a poor job with the accents (Urdu and Japanese sound alike), and Pakistani place names and words are mispronounced throughout. A little research would have helped. Still enjoyed the story overall though.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A book full of soul read beautifully

Kudos to Jane McDowell for her reading, excellent.

The story is one that kept me enchanted for the 12 hours I was listening to it. At times i had to pause for fear of my reaction in a public space . Highly recommended audiobook.

4 people found this helpful

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Beautifully written


This s a powerful story cstarting with the atomic bomb devastation in Nagasaki. The whole book covers love, loss, identity, unhappy marriage, multicultural relationships, racism, isolation, the war in Afghanistan, the rise and conquests of the mujahedin etc……

However with such a strong story line it is written with a gentleness and softness that is almost palpable.

My only criticism and this is purely personal is the narrator Jane McDowell reads the Ruth Galloway series and her distinctive voice had me flummoxed on numerous occasions when I was not sure what book I was listening too

2 people found this helpful

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Didn't really work for me

Much to like in this book, but ultimately I didn't find the character of Hiroko Tanaka truly three dimensional, nor credible.

I also found the narration a little hard-going with the interchange between Indian and Japanese accented English both stereo-typical and jarring.

1 person found this helpful

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Well written but depressing

A fascinating cultural exploration, however I struggled with this because the human pain was relentless and felt strangely once removed at the same time.

The narration was mixed. I was aware of being impressed by all the accents though also noticed some errors and awkward bits. Mostly I could overlook that.

I wonder if another reader would have made it a less depressing read, a more passionate one?

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Fabulous

Absolutely brilliant. Great narration. Wonderful story. Thought provoking. Really enjoyed this audio production. Really ace.

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A different perspective

A really believable, compelling story, written from unusual and interesting perspectives. I found the narrators American accent really annoying as it was so clearly laboured and fake, but otherwise enjoyed the narration.

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An emgaging read

an engaging read on. an interesting and very relevant topic about what is happening now