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Best of Friends


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A powerful exploration of the clash between society, friendship and power - from the international bestselling author of Home Fire, winner of the Women's Prize

About the Author

Kamila Shamsie was born and grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. Her 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, shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and A God in Every Stone, shortlisted for the Women's Bailey's Prize and the Walter Scott Prize. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages. Kamila Shamsie is a Fellow and Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature and was named a Granta Best of Young British Novelist in 2013. She is professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester. She lives in London. @kamilashamsie


A defining novel for our times ... An intimate study of the ties that bind us * Stylist *
A shining tour de force about a long friendship's respects, disrespects, loyalties and moralities. Shamsie never compromises. This novel is of a rare quality, and even more evidence of her ability to write fiction that's simultaneously vividly alive to its time and so good and true that it's as if it has always been with us. -- ALI SMITH * GUARDIAN, Summer Books 2022 *
An adolescent coming-of-age novel and paean to female friendship ... particularly excellent on the particularities of adult friendship forged in childhood * The Independent *
A moving exploration of friendship and identity across ideological divides * GRAZIA *
A new Kamila Shamsie novel is always worth celebrating, but Best of Friends is something else: an epic story that explores the ties of childhood friendship, the possibility of escape, the way the political world intrudes into the personal, all through the lens of two sharply drawn protagonists * OBSERVER, BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2022 *
The spirit of Elena Ferrante haunts this tale of a friendship forged in Karachi * SUNDAY TIMES *
A profound novel about friendship. I loved it to pieces -- MADELINE MILLER
It is a rare writer who can examine with such insight and tenderness the forces that bind us to certain moments in life, and do it in language that is both precise and exquisite, expansive and attuned to the tiniest emotional detail. Kamila Shamsie has done it again in this magnificent, profoundly moving novel. Best of Friends is compulsive reading, and a reminder that in the end, the strongest force is always love -- MAAZA MENGISTE
A powerful story about friendship * RED *
A compelling exploration of private and public lives in free fall in 1980s Karachi * IRISH TIMES, Books of the year *
The human heart can harbour deeply hidden contradictions. Here Kamila Shamsie brilliantly unearths the darker emotions that can live beneath the surface of a friendship - virtue laced with venality and love poisoned with the sugared toxins of envy and even hate. A disturbing and carefully crafted novel of rich psychological insight -- BARONESS HELENA KENNEDY QC
Friendship and power collide in Best of Friends * GUARDIAN, BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2022 *
A gripping portrayal of female connection * FINANCIAL TIMES, Books of the year *
A twisting story brilliantly told * EVENING STANDARD, Autumn highlights *
A haunting novel which asks big questions about justice, class, and the borders of our moral selves, all wrapped around the deliciously absorbing story of a childhood friendship that endures - fun, complicated, the kind of friendship that feels elemental -- MEGHA MAJUMDAR, author of A BURNING
Sophisticated and poignant ... A moving portrait of two lifelong friends * KIRKUS REVIEWS *
A beautiful, enchanting story about friendship * INDEPENDENT *
A story of power, identity and friendship ... Told in lyrical prose, Best of Friends is a compelling tale by one of today's greatest writers * MONOCLE *
I devoured this novel. Both a stinging indictment of corruption and prejudice in modern Britain and a nuanced portrait of friendship * The Bookseller *
'Best of Friends has much the same premise as Ferrante's Neapolitan quartet: a friendship charted from girlhood to middle age, taking in education, puberty, sex, ideological conflicts, personal rivalries, intimate secrets ...' * Guardian *
Cleverly captures the competitive nature of even the closest friendships ... a beautifully crafted novel with excellent characterisation, skilfully interweaving the personal and the political throughout * Daily Mirror *
The relationship between Maryam and Zahra captures the passion, intimacy and depth of longstanding female friendships as well as the hidden currents that sometimes take decades to rise to the surface. The realities of life under dictatorship in 1980's Pakistan is highlighted against the privileges and concerns of the upper class. This is a magnificent and important novel by a writer in full mastery of her powers * Nadifa Mohamed, author of the Booker shortlisted The Fortune Men *
Wonderfully realised. Shamsie captures the fizz and fissure of teenage friendship, the rivalry and trust, the secrets shared and hidden. ... Shamsie's observations about social media are clever and incisive, as are those about Pakistani and English social mores * Art Review *
PRAISE FOR HOME FIRE: The book for our times -- Judges of the Women's Prize 2017
Home Fire has lit a light that'll never go out -- Ali Smith
Her prose is propulsive and unfailingly elegant, and her eye for detail is acute ... A brave and brilliant novel * Sunday Times *
Managed to do all the things I want novels to do - tell me something about the world, give me a tiny glimpse into the otherness of others, and, most of all, give me that ache of longing as I turned the last page and realised I would never meet these characters again -- Tahmima Anam * Observer *
Shamsie's writing resonates on the human, political and lyrical plane but its topicality, tight plot and vivid characterisation also suggest a film script in the making * New Statesman, Books of the Year *
Elegant and evocative ... A powerful exploration of the clash between society, family and faith in the modern world, tipping its hat to the same dilemma in the ancient one * Guardian *
Builds to one of the most memorable final scenes I've read in a novel this century ... There is high, high music in the air at the end of Home Fire * New York Times *
Utterly contemporary and deeply original too -- Arifa Akbar * Evening Standard *
One of the best novels of the year ... magnificent ... Insistently intelligent without becoming didactic ... conveyed in prose of stunning suppleness and economy ... Home Fire is everything literary fiction should be - an exciting, beautiful, profound novel of lasting value that deserves laurels * Spectator *

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