Fourteen-year-old Maryam and Zahra have always been the best of friends, despite their different backgrounds. Maryam takes for granted that she will stay in Karachi and inherit the family business, while Zahra keeps her desires secret, and dreams of escaping abroad. In 1988, anything seems possible for the girls; and for Pakistan, emerging from the darkness of dictatorship into a bright future under a young woman, Benazir Bhutto. But a snap decision at a party celebrating the return of democracy brings the girls’ childhoods abruptly to an end. Its consequences will shape their futures in ways they cannot imagine…
Three decades later, in London, Zahra and Maryam are still best friends despite living very different lives. But when unwelcome ghosts from their shared past re-enter their world, both women find themselves driven to act in ways that will stretch and twist their bond beyond all recognition.
This is a novel about Britain today, about power and how we use it, and about what we owe to those who have loved us the longest.
Kamila Shamsie’s most recent novel, Home Fire, won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2018. It was also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017, shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Award, and won the London Hellenic Prize. She is the author of six previous novels including Burnt Shadows, and A God in Every Stone.