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Book giveaway: A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie

(27 Posts)
AliceMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 31-Mar-14 11:45:58

We're giving away 50 copies of A God in Every Stone, the stunning new novel from Kamila Shamsie. Named a Granta Best of Young British author, her most recent book Burnt Shadows was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and has been translated into more than 20 languages. Set across India, France, England and Turkey, the story carries you across the globe, into the heart of empires fallen and conquered. Kamila's compelling work of historical fiction deals with love, friendship, injustice and betrayal to remind us that so much of what is lost will never be forgotten.

Find out more, download an extract and apply for a free copy now, we will post on the thread once all the copies have gone. Please come back to this thread and let us know what you think, or post a review.

This book giveaway is sponsored by Bloomsbury Publishing.

Nuj Sat 24-May-14 18:13:27

Sorry to disagree with so many people but I really enjoyed this book - and did not really notice the lack of punctuation marks! I found the background to the story really interesting and unusual with its mix of British colonial rule in India, the 2nd World War, archaeology and even mention of the Persian empire. I found it difficult to put down (my comments have only been delayed because my daughter pinched it to read before me!) and enjoyed the mix of personal and political. I found the description and interplay of the Indian and Pashtun characters (with their loyalty to each other) fascinating. The only character I found difficult to understand was Vivian whose speech I found rather odd and stlted and she never came alive to me. But I liked this book because it was so different!

pamish Tue 20-May-14 00:44:33

I said in my review elsewhere here - I had to look up some maps as I was very lost about what was and is where. It goes from a dig site in western Turkey, to a posh bit of Camden, to Peshawar, which is now on the Pakistan/Afghan border but as it's pre-partition, was then in India. (A help to the reader would have been a couple of maps in an appendix, I can't be the only one who couldn't place these spots.) It's in two halves divided by time, 1915 and 1930, and two points of view, an upper class Englishwoman and an Indian army officer. This fairly complex structure took some getting going but by halfway through I had sorted it out and was committed to finishing, there's a missing person thread in the story that you want to follow.

I'm not as annoyed as above reviewers by the punctuation, it's not uncommon now for speech to be rendered by dashes and new paragraphs rather than " - " s and I barely noticed, though some conversations get a bit lost as a result.

There's a lot of scholarship gone into this book - or perhaps the author already knew the complex history of the British/Indian conflicts and the details of Turkish and Indian history in both 1915 and 1930. I have now been led through some of that story, through two sets of eyes (eye!) and have since looked up more of the background information for myself. There's also the ancient history story to follow, of the ancient Greeks and their search for the origin of the Indus river. The passion of Vivian to trace this 2500 year old story and her feeling for the ancient stones is convincing, as is the boy genius (?) Najeeb's love of learning.

IreadthereforeIam Sun 18-May-14 16:37:18

I really enjoyed this. Yes, the lack of speech marks was a little odd at first, but I think it took less than a chapter for me to get used to it!

I'm a real history fan, and I loved reading about WW1 and India in this time period. I found the end of Tahsin Bey to be rather abrupt, but I suppose that's how it would have seemed in a time where communication abroad was either very long-winded or impossible. The last 100 pages or so had me gripped, my heart in my mouth. A thoroughly good read!!

djillanne Thu 15-May-14 19:22:48

I have just finished reading A God in Every Stone and loved it. I always enjoy books involving travel and history so this hit the mark. It is well written and I felt such an affinity with Viv Spencer and her rebellious streak yet she was so eager to please her father. I loved how maturity brought clarity to her thoughts on both Empire and her youthful incarnation. I would have liked more background on Tahsin Bey as he became almost irrelevent to the story, other than introducing Viv to archaeology, and I think his role and influence in her life could have been expanded upon.
All in all a great read and I know my mum will love it too

Theduckandthechick Tue 13-May-14 21:03:38

Thank you for my copy of the book (have name changed since I received it). I enjoyed the story and found the setting and historical context to be compelling. However, like many of the previous posters I found the lack of speech attribution and the unusual style made following the conversations tricky at times and it interrupted the flow as I re-read paragraphs few times. All in all I would recommend this book, as it is worth the effort!

sleepyjean69 Tue 13-May-14 19:59:31

I'm still ploughing on with this but am aware it's taken me a while to review; at the moment I'm finding it a bit slow and am not really finding it grabs my attention that well so I'm only reading a little at a time. I'm going to persevere and will be back to post a full review once I finish it.

sss2012 Tue 13-May-14 18:05:17

I've just finished reading. It was bit hard to understand at the beginning. But it becomes interesting after a while - after followed her style & understood the characters. Thank you for my copy.

IreadthereforeIam Mon 12-May-14 10:53:03

I've only just started this - I had a big rush on finish off my college course! I'm intrigued to see what it's like, reading some of your comments!

queenoftheschoolrun Fri 09-May-14 11:39:33

I'm struggling with this one too. I usually read every night in bed but I'm finding I don't really want to pick up this book so I'm just going to sleep instead! I'm not sure why, it's not an area of history I'm familiar with but that would usually make it more interesting. Maybe it's the odd style which others have said or the fact that I don't find the characters engaging. I will persevere I think, I'm hoping it will get better as I get into it.

ScrambledEggAndToast Wed 07-May-14 22:51:47

I have just listed my review grin

ScrambledEggAndToast Wed 07-May-14 22:38:52

I have finally finished this book but as a few other posters have said, it was a struggle. I was very keen to finish it seeing as it was from the book club. It wasn't particularly easy going and not a style I would normally choose. I asked for it to try something new and to be honest, it wasn't really for me. Sorry MN.

lalamumto3 Wed 07-May-14 13:33:09

Like others have said, I found it hard to get into, but once I had I really enjoyed it and have posted a review.

Thanks so much for my free copy.

I found it a beautifully written book. Yes, it took a while to get to going but I found that once I had connected with the style of writing and the characters, I could not put it down.

Great book.

Babbletalk Wed 07-May-14 13:22:04

So thrilled to have got a copy from mumsnet but sorry to say I've had to give up too. I didn't mind the style of writing but I could not connect with any of the characters and so I wasn't interested in their story (perhaps this related back to the many threads in the book?) .

annagee Sat 03-May-14 06:55:27

I gave up. No speech marks, too much for me. And I never give up on books. A shame as it's been reviewed well so can't help but feel I'm missing something.

tinypumpkin Fri 02-May-14 23:49:17

I am still persevering. Sounds like it is worth it!

boulbyallen Thu 01-May-14 20:02:51

Not my normal choice of book but very interesting even andy has read it now dad wants to lend it

QueenYnci Thu 01-May-14 18:22:34

I'm about halfway through this book at the moment. I agree with other reviewers that it's not an easy or quick read and I struggled a bit at first to get into it. I'm finding the subject matter very interesting though and I'll give the book a full review when I've finished.

LFWL Wed 30-Apr-14 19:24:24

I was very excited to win this book as have read another of her books (Burnt Shadows) which I loved. Sadly I was quite disappointed. Had no problem with the writing style but just found the story hard to get into and didn't warm to the main female character. Interesting to learn more about India during the war though.

tinypumpkin Wed 30-Apr-14 11:57:24

Jossy, I have not finished it yet. I am struggling a bit to be honest with the differing stories and also the writing style. I am persevering as I really like the historical context. Sorry to be slow Mumsnet. The fact that I have not devoured it in one sitting (or a few) says a lot about how much I am struggling with it sadly.

Jossykaye Sat 26-Apr-14 07:59:22

Actually, after a promising start I'm now of the same opinion as sabre tiger. I'm feeling like there are too many threads that are not being held together. Also the untagged dialogue can be confusing as to who is speaking. Has anyone finished it yet? Is it worth pursuing?

chris69 Tue 22-Apr-14 20:40:18

Having no previous knowledge of this author I was excited to read this novel, and was really pleased I did. A thought provoking storyline about Indian soldiers fighting for the British Army in WW1 and the fight for Indian Independence in 1930,from various points of view, gave me an insight in to a period of history I was unfamiliar with. The Authors style of writing, text based, took a little getting used to but after a couple of chapters this wasn't a problem. I wouldn't say this was an "easy read" but if your after something to transport you to a different era and culture this is a good read. I will be on the look out for more books from this author.

sabretiggr Mon 21-Apr-14 20:06:23

It is very rare for me to start a book and then not finish it. Rarer still to write a book off due to style and copy edit rather than substance. And I've read a wide range of odd and peculiar books!

Sadly this was probably the first I have put down with no intention of picking up again. I struggled with the punctuation style chosen - no speech marks, but each new speaker indicated with a dash. It made reading conversations slow and difficult as it was not clear who was speaking, often until the end of the passage. Then one has to re-read the conversation to see who had said what and to look for the hidden nuggets of wit and wisdom. Unfortunately these were not to be found and the process of reading and rereading quickly became tiresome. I would rather be seeing a plot develop and characters emerge than try to follow the text itself.

The book promises much - a range of countries and cultures familiar to my family, a mix of people from a bygone era as the world began to change, a young woman unashamedly following her dreams rather than be confined by the expectations of her age.

I would hope the book will develop into this promised tale, but I fear the text will continue to confuse by its printed style. So I have parked this book, and given it to a relative who I am sure will enjoy it more.

Disclaimer - being a pedant, it may just be me who gets hung up on the style of the book and I am sure many people will enjoy it if they don't get stuck on that as I did.

tinypumpkin Sat 19-Apr-14 22:27:02

I have not yet had a chance to read this but I am hoping to do so next week. Really looking forward to it. Thanks for sending a copy and I promise to pop back with my thoughts.

Glad to hear that you are enjoying it Josssykaye. smile

Jossykaye Thu 17-Apr-14 20:15:22

Received this book a couple of days ago and already hooked! A really unusual slant on the first world war- Indian soldiers fighting in the British Army and the plight of Turkish Armenians. which is particularly interesting for me as it's my family history. It took me a while to get into the fact that the dialogue is in script rather than he said, she said and quotation marks but once I did, it was fine.

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