'SRINAGAR: 'The Book of Golden Leaves', the critically acclaimed second novel of London based Kashmiri writer Mirza Waheed, was launched in Srinagar on Tuesday.
Waheed's second book - following his international best seller debut 'The Collaborator', that was voted book of the year by the Telegraph, New Statesman and Financial Times in 2011 - is also set in the tumultuous 1990s Kashmir.
People tell me I write political novels. I tell them if you think I write political this is how we think in Kashmir, Waheed said during the first book reading at function here.
This book was born when I was a teen, around 12-16. The vivid picture of the main heart of Kashmir as I tried to explore in my book is about the life in Old City. I would often visit my grandfather who was paper machie artist at Khankah-e-Maulla. And also of my uncle who lived around Qamarwri, he said.
The book also has many translations of poems written by famous Urdu poets including few unsung Kashmir poets. The author said: I would have been more familiar with the Kashmir literary roots had someone then recommended to me to read about the local poets and writers from my early days.
The Book of Gold Leaves, is, aesthetically, a very different book: a love story, told by an omniscient narrator, about a multiplicity of lives in Srinagar.
The novel follows the fortunes of three local families, Shia, Sunni, Hindu: those of Faiz, a papier-mâché artist; Roohi, his headstrong lover; and the teachers at Roohis old school. There is also an outsider a soldier from the plains whose naive though benign intentions are sullied when he and his men occupy the school.
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