Scattered Souls is the best-selling fiction book in Kashmir till date

Srinagar—Anisa, a student, in a local bookstore is looking for some good reads. She couldn’t read much because of the shutdowns but she has already heard a lot about books from Shahnaz Bashir. “His books have reflected the life in Kashmir and that is why I want to read them,” she said.

The bookstores of Kashmir have witnessed a rush after good books by Kashmiris began to appear in the valley. One of them is Scattered Souls by Shahnaz Bashir. It is his second fiction book published by HarperCollins. A collection of 13 short stories which metaphorically portray the ordinary lives of people of Kashmir shaped by the ongoing conflict. Readers have been praising the book for its literary merits and originality. 

“The reviews, public response and love pouring into my inbox implies that Scattered Souls is being received well in Kashmir and across the globe. Even if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t matter. Though I’m never satisfied with myself, I will still write what I ought to,” said Shahnaz Bashir, the author of Scattered Souls. Needless to say that his first book The Half Mother did equally well as a debut and laid the foundations for his next.

Mohammad Imtiyaz, Manager at Password Books, Regal Chowk, Srinagar has already sold 250-300 copies of Scattered Souls since it was first published. “From the day of its local release in Dec 2016, people are buying the book like hot cakes. At our store, its sales have surpassed the other fiction titles by Kashmiri writers writing in English. People like to read about conflict and the book seems to touch the life of a Kashmiri in a conflict-torn place,” Imtiyaz said.

In non-fiction category Khalid Bashir Ahmad’s Kashmir: Exposing the Myth Behind the Narrative has been a local bestseller since its publication in the summer of last year. The book deals with the history of Kashmir and has been praised for its authenticity of research. It’s published by Sage and was mostly reviewed by insiders as well as outsiders with great critical acclaim.

Muslim Conference Chairman Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat’s autobiography Beyond Me had got a good response among autobiographies since it was taken over by Khalid’s Kashmir.

Sheikh Aijaz, owner of Gulshan Books, Residency Road Srinagar, says, “The book was read by politicians, bureaucrats, separatist leaders and journalists with much interest for the confessions that Bhat made.”

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