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An Evening with Alastair Sawday

20th October, 2021, Steyning Cricket Club

A God in Every Stone

Kamila Shamsie’s last novel, Burnt Shadows, was probably my favourite book of 2009, so I was excited about her new title, A God in Every Stone.

Burnt Shadows elegantly and resonantly connected Nagasaki, partition and Guantamo Bay, and A God in Every Stone is similarly epic in scope, taking the reader from ancient Persia to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the troubled end of British colonial rule in India.  On the eve of the First World War, a young British woman, Vivian Rose Spencer, joins an archaeological dig in Turkey and falls in love. Thousands of miles away, a Pashtun soldier, Qayyum Gul, is learning about brotherhood and loyalty in the British Indian Army. A year later, Viv has been separated from her lover by the war, and become a nurse, and Qayyum has survived the bloodbath at Ypres, but lost an eye. They meet on a train to Peshawar, unaware that their lives will connect in ways that only become clear many years later…

This is an excellent, ambitious novel of empires and their aftermath, and how individuals get caught up in the tide of history. Alice