“This is an incredible, epic novel straddling the time of the bomb dropping on Nagasaki in 1945 to New York of 2004. Hiroko, forever marked by the image of cranes burned into her back from the bomb blast, loses her first love and then finds another. She becomes a Pakistani, raises a beloved son, learns and loves many languages, and tries to make sense of the clash of cultures and loyalties that face her and her beloveds at every turn. Shamsie expertly depicts people acting out of their deepest love and conviction and finding themselves facing morally complex choices, the results of which are both magnificent and devastating. This novel is perfect!”
— Sheryl Cotleur, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA
9 August, 1945, Nagasaki: Hiroko Tanaka, twenty-one and in love with Konrad Weiss, the man she is about to marry, steps out onto her veranda, minutes before a nuclear explosion shatters her world and everything in it.
Travelling to Delhi two years later in search of new beginnings, she meets Konrad's half-sister, Elizabeth, her husband James Burton, and their employee Sajjad Ashraf. As the years unravel, the shadows of history - personal and political - are cast over the entwined worlds these people inhabit as they are transported from Pakistan to New York, and in the novel's astonishing climax, to Afghanistan in the immediate wake of 9/11.