Kamila Shamsie's latest novel Best of Friends is inspired by an old conversation

Published 18 Feb, 2022 04:18pm

Images Staff

The book is set around 1988, when Benazir Bhutto came to power, and will hit the shelves on September 27.

Photo: Zain Mustafa
Photo: Zain Mustafa

Author Kamila Shamsie will be releasing a new book this year called Best of Friends, inspired by decades-old conversations and set in the era of Benazir Bhutto. The book is scheduled to release on September 27.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the author revealed that the upcoming storyline is about two young girls, best friends who grew up and choose different paths in life. In the book, Zahra and Maryam grew up in Pakistan and are now living successful lives in London. But people resurface from their past, testing the bond and strength of the two friends.

For Shamsie, what stuck is the idea of being adults and having two types of friends — close friends and childhood friends. She looked back on a conversation with her sister in their late 20s in which she said, "You know, it's interesting, the friends you make in adult life are your friends because you have something in common, but your childhood friends are your friends because they've always been your friends". "That really stuck with me," said the writer.

When asked what inspired her to write a novel based on two friends, Shamsie told the publication, "It started with the friendship between the two women, and because I decided on writing about a childhood friendship, I knew that childhood would be in Karachi".

She said she knew "quite early" that the story would be set around 1988, which she called "a quite crucial year". "It was when Benazir Bhutto came to power, and I was a young woman at that time and it really stirred something in me. So I wanted to make use of that."

The author also revealed that she "felt amazing" to know that her book Home Fire did well in the United States because it became part of the "relationship between citizens and their government".