A God in Every Stone

A God in Every Stone

Book - 2014
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July 1914. A young Englishwoman, Vivian Rose Spencer is running up a mountainside in an ancient land. She picks up a fig and holds it to her nose. Around her is a maze of broken columns, taller than the tallest of men. Nearby is the familiar lean form of her father's old friend, Tahsin Bey, an archeologist. Viv is about to discover the Temple of Zeus, the call of adventure and the ecstasy of love. July, 1915. An Englishwoman and an Indian man meet on a train to Peshawar. Viv Spencer is following a cryptic message sent to her by the man she loves, from whom she has been separated by war. Qayyum Gul is returning home after losing an eye at Ypres while fighting for the British Indian army, his allegiances in tatters. When they disembark the train at Peshawar they are unaware that a connection is about to be forged between their lives - one of which they will be unaware until fifteen years later when anti-colonial resistance, an ancient artefact and a mysterious green-eyed woman will bring them together again over seventy-two hours of heartbreak, frayed loyalties and hope.
Publisher: London :, Bloomsbury,, 2014
Description: 311 pages ; 24 cm
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781408847206
Branch Call Number: Sham


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Oct 07, 2017

This book was hard to get into, made harder by the odd use of dashes to set off dialog. Once over that hurdle, however, it is magnificent. Set in a broad sweep of time, place, and POV, it demonstrates clearly the problems of culture between empires, and how difficult they can be to bridge no matter what personal connections people forge or try to. The deeper I got into the book, the more I felt the love, pain, sorrow, and grief of each individual, embedded in their own culture. Over the years of the main action, from immediate pre WW I to 1930, characters have time to grow and change, yet maintain their basic selfhood. A very different book from "Burnt Shadows," but equally worth reading.

Aug 08, 2016

This wonderful novel plays with perspective and builds to an amazing climax. At first it seems to center on Vivian, a young English archaeologist, and Qayyum, a soldier from Peshawar (now part of Pakistan), in World War One. Early on Vivian—naïve, passionate, and privileged—seems more interesting; Qayyum is understandably muddied by the war, which alternately empowers, injures, and alienates him, and finds himself confused about his political loyalties after a fellow soldier in unrequited love with him saves his life. But once Qayyum finds his way into the Muslim non-violence movement, his life and that of his scholarly younger brother become vivid and compelling. Shamsie has wonderful insights into colonialism and the dynamics between older and younger siblings, how they love and misperceive each other. At the climax the story leaps into the POV of two women who have haunted the edges of the novel—a risky move, but one that works brilliantly and brings the many themes Shamsie explores to a satisfying close. Highly recommended.

Apr 21, 2015

This wonderful novel spans the personal and political where nothing is black and white. It encompasses three empires - Persian, Ottoman, British - in telling the story of a young archeologist and two brothers in Peshawar. It is set during WW I and the non-violent movement in Peshawar in 1930 against colonialism.

Sep 07, 2014

Yawn! I picked this out because it starts in a part of the world -- southwest Turkey -- that I know and love. The gay angle also drew me. But the people seemed weakly drawn and verging on stereotypes. They never did anything unexpected or interesting. So half way through I wearied of it and put it down. I also found the storytelling clumsy and disjointed and the settings perfunctory. Shamsie holds people and objects before us, but they remain words; they refuse to come to life.

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