Kartography – Kamila Shamsie (Book Review)

Goodreads Review: 

Raheen and her best friend, Karim, share an idyllic childhood in upper-class DSCN3308Karachi. Their parents were even once engaged to each others’ partners until
they remBut as adolescence distances the friends, Karim takes refuge in maps while Raheen searches for the secret behind her parents’ exchange. What she uncovers reveals not just a family’s but a country’s turbulent history-and a grown-up Raheen and Karim are caught between strained friendship and fated love.

A love story with a family mystery at its heart, Kartography is a dazzling novel by a young writer of astonishing maturity and exhilarating style. Shamsie transports us to a world we have not often seen in fiction-vibrant, dangerous, sensuous Pakistan. But even as she takes atched in what they call “the fiancée swap.” us far from the familiar, her story of passion and family secrets rings universally true.

Author: Kamila Shamsie

No of Pages: 320

My Review: 3.9

Published: June 7, 2004

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance,

The likes of you and me would think that this book is for everyone. But its not. Its for those who have lived in Karachi, are associated with it in some way, who have witnessed the bloodshed that accompanies that city. People who were born there and were raised there. People who migrated there and made it their home. People whose blood bleed Karachi. People who have driven it’s roads, know the secrets of the city. People who live in the chaos that is Karachi.

You and I, will never be able to resonate with this book as much as someone from Khi would.

Shamsie has done a great job showing life as it was in Khi and still is. The book and it’s writing is raw, powerful and brutally honest and that’s where its beauty lies.

I love anything based on friendships. Hence, I loved both the foursome friends, the older as well as the younger ones. All the characters had so much depth and were both lovable as well as relatable. Yasmin was one of my favourite characters, for the reason that she understood Zafar when nobody else did.

Raheen and Karim’s story is over shadowed by the city’s story. And by the love that binds these two to Karachi. While it is told from an upper class’s perspective, you will get to read about all kinds of people, and what binds all these different classes together. The upper class can’t exist if there is no lower class or middle class.

Favourite Quotes:

“Yes, the city said, I am a breeding ground for monsters, but don’t think that is the full measure of what I am.”

“Its a moonsmile. No light of its own unless there’s a sun for it to reflect off,”

“You know, if I wasn’t me, you wouldn’t be you.”





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