It's rare that a writer wins me over as fully as Kamila Shamsie did with her exhilarating Home Fire. The wait for her new novel, while excruciating, paid off immediately upon opening the pages of Best of Friends. A childhood friendship, traversing decades, countries, and circumstances both social and political, pushes the limits of its elasticity amidst all the challenges of today's modern world. Shamsie's characters vibrate off the page with their humanity as they weigh (or ignore!) the implications of their personal decisions in a society that wasn't tailor-made for them. A very impactful work!
“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.” —Ali Smith
From the acclaimed author of Home Fire, the moving and surprising story of a lifelong friendship and the forces that bring it to the breaking point Zahra and Maryam have been best friends since childhood in Karachi, even though—or maybe because—they are unlike in nearly every way. Yet they never speak of the differences in their backgrounds or their values, not even after the fateful night when a moment of adolescent impulse upends their plans for the future.
Three decades later, Zahra and Maryam have grown into powerful women who have each cut a distinctive path through London. But when two troubling figures from their past resurface, they must finally confront their bedrock differences—and find out whether their friendship can survive.
Thought-provoking, compassionate, and full of unexpected turns, Best of Friends offers a riveting take on an age-old question: Does principle or loyalty make for the better friend?
About the Author
Kamila Shamsie is the author of several previous novels, most recently Home Fire, which won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, was longlisted for the Booker Prize, and was a finalist for the International Dublin Literary Award, the Costa Novel Award, and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, among other honors. She was raised in Karachi and lives in London.
Praise for Best of Friends:
“Rich and deeply personal. . . . In poetic prose, Shamsie details the small ways friends imprint themselves on each other: the secrets shared, the mutual pop-star crushes, the books passed between them, how a best friend can become a fixture in a family home.” —Los Angeles Times
“[A] captivating portrayal of two women trying to learn whether a once-treasured friendship can overcome differences.” —The Washington Post
“[A] frothy, sweet novel . . . . What seems like a straightforward friendship tale keeps you guessing.”—Hollywood Reporter
“Sophisticated and poignant. . . . [brings] exquisite nuance [to its] depiction of long-lasting friendship.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Shamsie is superb at interweaving personal dilemmas and political realities. . . . Her continually surprising story, in which repercussions have further repercussions, vibrates with contemporary concerns, from social media privacy to immigration. The novel also wisely observes the enigmatic nature of longtime friendships. . . and shows how female power transforms over time. The protagonists will stay in readers’ minds long after this piercingly honest novel concludes.”—Booklist (starred)
Praise for Home Fire: “Ingenious and love-struck … builds to one of the most memorable final scenes I’ve read in a novel this century.” –The New York Times
“Urgent and explosive. . . near perfect. . . a difficult book to put down.”—NPR
“A haunting novel, full of dazzling moments and not a few surprising turns...Home Fire blazes with the kind of annihilating devastation that transcends grief.” —Washington Post
“Achingly good. . . [and] shrewdly subversive.”—The New York Times Book Review
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