Best of Friends

Riverhead. Sept. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780593421826. $27. F
Following the LJ best-booked, Women’s Prize–winning Home Fire, Shamsie’s latest examines ingrained societal standards, peer pressure, and the nature of friendship, opening in Pakistan and ending in the UK. Zahra Ali and Maryam Khan have been close friends since childhood in Karachi, having successfully bridged differences in their backgrounds and their attitudes toward life. When they are teenagers, they share a disturbing experience one night with two young men that has a powerful effect on their lives. For Maryam, there is no forgiving and forgetting, even many years later when the two women are leading successful lives in London, Zahra as head of the Center for Civil Liberties and Maryam as a venture capitalist supporting the tech industry. For Maryam, finally, her only recourse is revenge, and her unfolding story explores contemporary issues from civil rights to the deportation of migrants.
VERDICT Even as it displays upheaval in the lives of two women who are “best of friends,” Shamsie’s fascinating novel takes readers through political change in Pakistan under Presidents Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and Benazir Bhutto while also plumbing tensions in UK politics today. It will be especially welcomed by book clubs, as it will inspire vibrant conversation.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing