Placing the Displaced
This is Shamsie’s fifth novel, and her most ambitious. In it, Hiroko, a
Japanese woman, loses her German paramour, Konrad, in 1945’s Nagasaki
bombing. Displaced, her path leads to love with Sajjad—a male servant
at the household of Konrad’s half-sister Elizabeth Burton—in India.
Partition forces her into motion again. The novel ends in the United
States just after 9/11, with fate dictating yet another displacement.
Shamsie delicately builds the momentum of everyday life against the
insidiously political situations of our times, arriving at surprisingly
plausible plot twists. This is, more than anything else, a tribute to
her skills as a writer of sharp, compact narratives that leave the
reader enticed and provoked in equal measure.