In her critically acclaimed second novel, Salt and Saffron (), Kamila Shamsie followed an idealistic young Pakistani woman as she discovered that class. Impassioned and touching, KARTOGRAPHY is a love song to Karachi. In her extraordinary new novel, Kamila Shamsie shows us that whatever happens in the . The trauma of war is typically gauged by loss of lives and property, not broken hearts, but the microcosm is often as powerful an indicator of loss.

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Reviewed by Laila Kazmi. Kamila Shamsie’ Kartography is an exciting novel, especially for those who have lived in Karachi. Set in the Eighties and Nineties in one of Pakistan’s largest cities, it is a tale of friendship, love, betrayal and anguish.

Karachi is just as important to the story as the two main characters, Raheen and Karim.

For those who lived through those years in Karachi, the novel serves as kamlla bittersweet reminder of a difficult time in a beloved city. Their winter holidays have just started and their plans of spending their days roaming the city with two other close friends, Zia and Sonia, are being spoiled by their parents.

Nervous about the safety of their children as the ethnic violence escalates, the parents are planning to send them away for the holidays. Living in the better part of town, the four friends are somewhat shielded from the violence.


Thus, while death toll in the city rises daily, the biggest worries of the young teenagers seem to be not being able to go to the beach or drive to the airport coffee shop when they want — the oldest of the group, Zia, has recently acquired a fake driver’s license.

Review: Kartography by Kamila Shamsie | Books | The Guardian

Trying to enjoy life like normal teenagers, they sometime seem almost oblivious to the violence. In reality, it is always in the back of their minds even as they make jokes to trivialize kamia.

As the years pass, some unpleasant truths are revealed and the four friends are forced to face bigger issues in each of their lives. As children, Raheen and Karim could read kamilla other’s thoughts and complete each other’s sentences.

With the parallel story of Yasmin, Zafar, Maheen and Ali who are the parents of Raheen and Karim, the author touches on another dark period from Pakistan’s history. The four parents have known each other since their college days when they lived through the civil war which resulted in the creation of an independent Bangladesh in That year has haunting memories for the four parents.

It is also the year in which the parents swapped partners yet managed to keep their iartography alive. Raheen struggles to untangle her parents’ past which is colliding with her own world.

It is days away from when Raheen writes the following note to herself: Is it the shame at losing the war, or guilt about what we did to try to win that mutes us? Will the friendship between Raheen and Karim survive the pressures of the ethnic violence that surrounds them in kamola present as well as that which occurred even before their births?


Will the parents live up to the expectations of their children? How will Karachi effect the lives of each of the characters? The novel which starts out at slow pace soon becomes difficult to put down.

Kartography: Kamila Shamsie: Bloomsbury Paperbacks

Kartography is a coming of age story of four friends. Each is very different from the other. Though mainly a story about Raheen and Karim, Zia and Sonia are every bit as intriguing. The flashbacks to the parents’ college days are revealing of another time and mind set.

Love, betrayal, sacrifice… and humour

Karachi is portrayed as a complex city, lively and dangerous. One thing is for sure, as a native, Kamila Shamsie is in love with her city and manages to invoke in the reader a longing to experience the vibrant kartotraphy there. Kartography Kamila Shamsie Bloomsbury, Once upon a time in Karachi Unexplored Territory Moving On.