Best of Friends: from the winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction (Paperback)Kamila Shamsie (author)
The award-winning author of Home Fire delivers a characteristically insightful and compelling examination of identity, friendship and the contradictions of contemporary London as two Pakistani women confront the disturbing ghosts of their past.
‘A profound novel about friendship. I loved it to pieces’ MADELINE MILLER** SHORTLISTED FOR THE INDIE BOOK AWARDS 2023 ** PICKED AS ONE OF THE SUNDAY TIMES' BEST PAPERBACKS OF 2023** CHOSEN AS A BOOK TO LOOK OUT FOR BY THE GUARDIAN, BBC, OBSERVER, DAILY MAIL, IRISH TIMES AND FINANCIAL TIMES **Maryam and Zahra.
In 1988 Karachi, two fourteen-year-old girls are a decade into their friendship, sharing in-jokes, secrets and a love for George Michael. As Pakistan’s dictatorship falls and a woman comes to power, the world suddenly seems full of possibilities. Elated by the change in the air, they make a snap decision at a party. That night, everything goes wrong, and the two girls are powerless to change the outcome.
Zahra and Maryam.
In present-day London, two influential women remain bound together by loyalties, disloyalties, and the memory of that night, which echoes through the present in unexpected ways. Now both have power; and both have very different ideas of how to wield it… Their friendship has always felt unbreakable; can it be undone by one decision?
'An epic story that explores the ties of childhood friendship, the possibility of escape, the way the political world intrudes into the personal, all through the lens of two sharply drawn protagonists' Observer
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 336
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
A profound novel about friendship. I loved it to pieces - MADELINE MILLER
A shining tour de force about a long friendship’s respects, disrespects, loyalties and moralities. Shamsie never compromises. This novel is of a rare quality, and even more evidence of her ability to write fiction that’s simultaneously vividly alive to its time and so good and true that it’s as if it has always been with us. - ALI SMITH, GUARDIAN, Summer Books 2022
It is a rare writer who can examine with such insight and tenderness the forces that bind us to certain moments in life, and do it in language that is both precise and exquisite, expansive and attuned to the tiniest emotional detail. Kamila Shamsie has done it again in this magnificent, profoundly moving novel. Best of Friends is compulsive reading, and a reminder that in the end, the strongest force is always love - MAAZA MENGISTE
The human heart can harbour deeply hidden contradictions. Here Kamila Shamsie brilliantly unearths the darker emotions that can live beneath the surface of a friendship - virtue laced with venality and love poisoned with the sugared toxins of envy and even hate. A disturbing and carefully crafted novel of rich psychological insight - BARONESS HELENA KENNEDY QC
Friendship and power collide in Best of Friends - GUARDIAN, BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2022
A new Kamila Shamsie novel is always worth celebrating, but Best of Friends is something else: an epic story that explores the ties of childhood friendship, the possibility of escape, the way the political world intrudes into the personal, all through the lens of two sharply drawn protagonists - OBSERVER, BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2022
A twisting story brilliantly told - EVENING STANDARD
A moving exploration of friendship and identity across ideological divides - GRAZIA
A haunting novel which asks big questions about justice, class, and the borders of our moral selves, all wrapped around the deliciously absorbing story of a childhood friendship that endures - fun, complicated, the kind of friendship that feels elemental - MEGHA MAJUMDAR, author of A BURNING
Sophisticated and poignant … A moving portrait of two lifelong friends - KIRKUS REVIEWS
A powerful story about friendship - RED
A beautiful, enchanting story about friendship - INDEPENDENT
PRAISE FOR HOME FIRE: The book for our times - Judges of the Women's Prize 2017
Home Fire has lit a light that'll never go out - Ali Smith
Her prose is propulsive and unfailingly elegant, and her eye for detail is acute ... A brave and brilliant novel - Sunday Times
Managed to do all the things I want novels to do - tell me something about the world, give me a tiny glimpse into the otherness of others, and, most of all, give me that ache of longing as I turned the last page and realised I would never meet these characters again - Tahmima Anam, Observer
Shamsie's writing resonates on the human, political and lyrical plane but its topicality, tight plot and vivid characterisation also suggest a film script in the making - New Statesman, Books of the Year
Elegant and evocative ... A powerful exploration of the clash between society, family and faith in the modern world, tipping its hat to the same dilemma in the ancient one - Guardian
Builds to one of the most memorable final scenes I've read in a novel this century ... There is high, high music in the air at the end of Home Fire - New York Times
Utterly contemporary and deeply original too - Arifa Akbar, Evening Standard
One of the best novels of the year ... magnificent ... Insistently intelligent without becoming didactic ... conveyed in prose of stunning suppleness and economy ... Home Fire is everything literary fiction should be - an exciting, beautiful, profound novel of lasting value that deserves laurels - Spectator
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“A beautiful novel about friendship and gender politics”
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“Warm But Spiky, Relatable But Morally Complex, Sincere But Subversive”
The ending of this novel is, I think, brilliant. I also think that it will act as a sort of Rorschach test for readers, and can imagine many different takes on it.
Shamsie simply gives us a time (a significant time)... More
“A book of two halves”
*I received a free preview copy of this book from NetGalley*
‘Best-friendship wasn’t an vast expanse of time any more; it was being there when it mattered.’
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