April Book Club Preview
As mentioned yesterday, we’re starting a global feminist book club here at Gender Across Borders. Every month, we will choose a new book to read and discuss. The book for April will be Kamila Shamsie‘s Burnt Shadows. This sweeping book tells the story of the postmodern age, beginning with the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and ending after 9/11, through the remarkable and at times agonizing life of a Japanese woman. Hiroko Tanaka fits none of the stereotypes Westerners often hold about Japanese women. She is, like all of us, at times helpless against the brutal forces of history and the decisions of the powerful but she faces the world recreated by those forces with determination and daring. Her bravery at first may come from a certain naivete. By the end, however, after surviving calamity after calamity, her ability to move on in life and to new countries, comes from another kind of calmness and self-possession.
What makes this book so powerful is that the tension comes not from wondering what is going to happen but from knowing and being unable to stop it. In this way, Shamsie personalises the experience of reading history.