From The London Times:
The Sufi notion that “Hell is nothing more or less than the absence of the Beloved” lies at the heart of Kamila Shamsie’s ambitious but overwrought new novel. Set in present-day Karachi, it is nar- rated by Aasmaani, a 31-year-old woman obsessed by her mother, Samina, who disappeared 14 years ago. Being the daughter of a political activist and feminist icon was never going to be easy in Pakistan, but Aasmaani was also partly abandoned when Samina embarked on a passionate and very public affair with a dissident writer known as “the Poet”. “For a good part of the first 12 years of my life the Poet was either in prison or self-imposed exile,” Aasmaani recalls, “and wherever he was she wasn’t far behind.” Nor is Samina far behind when the Poet is murdered: she never returns from a walk on the beach and everyone except Aasmaani believes she has committed suicide.