Book: The Book Of Gold Leaves

Mirza Waheed
Penguin, €18.75;
ebook. €10.99

To label this a Romeo and Juliet story would be too simplistic. Sure, it has similarities, but it’s much more than that.

In his second novel, journalist Mirza Waheed deftly transports our imaginations to his enchanting homeland Kashmir. But with the 1990s uprising as the backdrop, the magic of this culturally rich and traditional region soon begins to ebb away and, in its place, tragedy creeps in for our central characters – papier-mache artist Faiz and the alluring but feisty Roohi.

The two lovers meet in secret at a shrine and the consequences of their tryst are devastating for their families and Hindu and Muslim community.

What exacerbates it is the revolt happening around them as they struggle to take control of their once peaceful lives.

Initially, Waheed’s eloquent and vivid narrative took a while to get going but the reward for plugging onwards is a compelling and beautiful tale of love.


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