5/2/11 ** I've now officially dropped this book; I was enjoying it while I was reading it, but when I got side-tracked into something else, this didn't call me back. I keep trying to read literary novels and they just don't appeal. :(
3/23/11 ** Several months ago BBC's program, The Strand, featured BURNT SHADOWS on their World Book Club; I heard the author discuss the book and answer audience/call-in questions. I was fascinated by the far-reaching scope of the plot - beginning in Nagasaki on the day the U.S. dropped the A-bomb, continuing in India in 1947 just before the division of that nation in two, and then moving into the 80s in Pakistan and 2000 in Afghanistan. Another thing that caught my attention was that the main character has three shadows of cranes burned into her back - a legacy of the kimono she was wearing on the day of the blast. Apparently that image was the genesis of the book.
I requested the book as soon as I'd heard the book club discussion, and have picked it up several times. It's a literary novel, definitely not my typical genre. I finally started reading it this past weekend and was sucked in immediately by the building tension created because I knew the bombing was about to happen and the characters didn't. I'm now about a third through, in the part where India and Pakistan are moving toward dissolution - I know very little about that period of history. I'm even more curious because my grandmother lived in India in the 30s, so I find myself wondering if her life there followed any of the patterns from the book.