@READ E-PUB Ý The Book of Gold Leaves ⚝ eBook or E-pub free

I m not one for literary fiction, which this book falls under But the premises of this one were so interesting an inter sect love story, a story about war, and a story about Kashmir that I had to give it a chance I didn t necessarily enjoy reading this book but I m very glad to have read it.As I mentioned, I don t really enjoy literary fiction, and I can t say I ve read too many romances I won t let that judge my review of the book as that wouldn t make any sense However, even ignoring my personal tastes, I felt the book was still too indulgent, the pace too slow, and the writing too meandering The narrative arc ultimately had little in the way of conflict, or much anything really At times, things that I was interested to see happening happened off page, or with little depth Spoiler for example, Faiz s mention of Roohi to his older brother, and their eventual marriage At other times, the writing digressed so much it sucked the action out of intense moments, and made them difficult to clearly understand The book is full of quirky characters, but sometimes it felt forced, wherein characters made decisions that seemed contrary to their characters Spoiler for example Faiz essentially stealing money from mosque donations to go to the cinema as a youth to fulfill some sort of literary fiction quirky quota Sometimes, though seldom, it also seemed the author was simply using character monologues to convey his own ideas But as I neared the end of this book and finished it, I realized why I had pushed myself to make it all the way through.This book is actually a solid story about Kashmir It powerfully captures what life is like, the sadness of the conflict, and the impossibility of the situation its people are forced to deal with all of the people, including the Pandits Everything else, including even the central narrative I feel, are secondary to that goal By the end, the author certainly does manage to communicate that story.Summary Faiz is a Shia artist by trade papier mach , and by nature He left school early to become a full time painter, where his talents are put to use to produce items in bulk Roohi is a Sunn,i university educated girl, who struggles to resist marriage offers in the hopes of a true love story.Faiz has a painting of the Persian poet Omar Khayyam being poured wine by a woman with beautiful long hair He often draws inspiration from this image As he goes to the mosque near the evening prayer, Roohi has just completed her own prayer, for aforementioned love story From her balcony she sees him, and he sees her They eventually get in contact and fall for each other, meeting in the basement of the shrine nearby to talk Their romance is complicated by their distinct backgrounds.Eventually the situation in Kashmir changes for the worse Soldiers arrive and begin occupying schools and setting up bunkers A rebel attempt to attack a bunker fails, and results in the bunker s soldiers unloading a machine gun on everyone in the vicinity, not stopping until the bullets run out The soldiers hit a school bus full of children and their elderly female caretaker That caretaker is Faiz s Godmother and nurse, a woman without relatives Faiz is nearby during this event, and enters the bus to see the dead children and his dying Godmother He carries her outside as she dies in his arms.The situation in Kashmir continues to escalate A vehicle captures boys in the street Faiz s elder brother, who is the house s patriarch after Faiz s father passed away and is much older than him is caught and dragged He becomes seriously injured, and loses function in his right hand, with which he drew calligraphy Faiz becomes and despondent He cannot get the image of his Godmother and the schoolchildren out of his head He is frustrated by the idea that everyone will forget her as she had no one, and is unable to fall asleep for days at a time He resorts to consuming entire bottles of cough syrup.Faiz decides to leave to travel to Pakistan, as is common for many Kashmiri young boys, to become trained as a militant Roohi worries for him, and the situation worsens in Kashmir still Around the time Faiz leaves, nighttime raids are conducted and many young men are taken away People disappear and never returned, and bodies start ending up in the street Roohi s father, a government census worker, is concerned his work was used towards the raids, and becomes paranoid Rumi, Roohi s younger brother who joins a local rebel group that is really a bunch of fake braggadocios do nothings without training begin confronting him about his father Roohi quickly puts them in their place As tensions increase, Kashmiri pandits are killed as well They gradually leave Kashmir as conditions worsen.Faiz trains in Pakistan, developing bombs as he once developed papier m ch art pieces He makes friends with a well connected fellow camp dweller nicknamed Engineer, who helps him write letters to Roohi whose permission he did not ask before leaving, nor did he make her aware, though in his defense he was addicted and needed to make a choice fast They communicate some, and this is where the book title quote comes from What I miss the most, is the waiting , Roohi s waiting for the day they could meet in the shrine Eventually, Faiz feels he must return, and Engineer manages to make it so that he is able to.He returns a new man, the Artist cum Warrior, and a mujahid He carries a gun on him at all times, is unable to stay in one place for a night, and must move frequently He decides he must marry Roohi now, and goes to her home to ask her hand The state of Kashmir has degraded severely, what with the frequent protests and killing of Kashmiris The issue of sectarian difference fades into the background, and what with him being a mujahid and all, which commands a certain respect and religious prominence They get married simply, and unbeknownst to them become something of a local myth two lovers, the Shia Artist turned Warrior, and the Sunni Poet Girl as Roohi reads a lot of poetry managing to overcome differences and get married They go on a short honey moon this is an example of how the author allows the reader to explore the different parts of Kashmir, and learn about its culture and history.Agar Firdaus Bar Roo Zameen Ast,Hameen ast, o hameen ast, o hameen ast.Rumi is again confronted by his group of local thugs Faiz, the real deal, never has a chance to intervene who compel him to invite his Dad to a talk after prayers behind the mosque where much of the novel s event take place Aside Roohi is read about as equally as Faiz in this book, but her sections are monologues than plot progressions, so less mentioned here.Rumi tells his Dad the government s district census director is there to see him what his gang told him to say , and his father innocently goes He gets to the back of the mosque, and is surprised to find the actual census director there Roohi and Rumi s dad sits next to the census director, smoking in identical old Kashmiri style held between ring and little finger, cupping the smoke in a fist The director pulls out a silenced gun and shoots him in the chest three times.Sometime later, the Dad is found Faiz finds him first Instantly the government is suspected which is correct, but I can t remember how the novel clearly establishes this to the people The people assemble around the mosque to bury him, and protest his murder Here the author is able to show the Kashmiri people s solidarity, recognition of martyrdom, and unified protest as they scream Who s blood is this to the collective response Mine.The army shows up at the mosque as night approaches a curfew has been in place for two or so years now The army major is known to the reader, having narrated some chapters, and sets up the machine gun atop the tank to discourage them from assembling further They are breaking curfew and must return home It is also the first of Muharram, and Faiz s older brother shows up with the Alam, or Shia standard, representing the martyrdom of Imam Hussain as The protests begin to magnify and tension increases as Faiz s brother walks closer and closer to the Major with his alam held high.When the army arrived, Faiz, as a militant, is urged to leave, and so runs with Roohi to her house which is next door They comfort Rumi assuring him it is not his fault, and then climb to the balcony to watch the events unfold, the same balcony Roohi had first seen Faiz from We learn from the Major that the government had indeed killed Rumi s father The local fake rebel who had bullied Rumi had in fact turned turncoat The government had used Roohi s fathers censuses to conduct their raids and did not want others to know They decided to simply kill him, to tie up loose ends.The protest grows still stronger, as Faiz and Roohi watch from the balcony Faiz s mother sees him from the balcony and looks away, sure he is safe, but not wanting to give them away Faiz s brother walks still closer to the Major with his Alam The Major, not exactly an evil man as we have learned though he has certainly supported some questionable acts, to say the least takes off his safety He decides to send a warning shot to disperse the crowd He turns his gun away towards the roofs of the local houses and shoots, only to see too late two shadows holding each other tightly on the balcony of the house he turned towards The shadows hold each other, shake, and then are stillstill holding on to one another. @READ E-PUB ⚣ The Book of Gold Leaves Ý Shortlisted For The DSC Prize For South Asian Literature The Book Of Gold Leaves Is A Heartbreaking Love Story Set In War Torn Kashmir In An Ancient House In The City Of Srinagar, Faiz Paints Exquisite Papier Mache Pencil Boxes For Tourists Evening Is Beginning To Slip Into Night When He Sets Off For The Shrine There He Finds The Woman With The Long Black Hair Roohi Begs For The Boy Of Her Dreams To Come And Take Her Away She Wants A Love Story, An Age Old Tale Of Love, War, Temptation, Duty And Choice A novel about Kashmir, set in Kashmir, and dyed in Kashmir, chronicling the love affair between Faiz, a talented papier mache artist, and Roohi, a courageous and intelligent girl with a passion for poetry This is a slow burn and delights the reader with a lyrical prose and an awe inducing description of painted flowers, birds and landscape The relationship of the two central characters is forged in the crucible of conflict and grows intense as the valley of Kashmir is gripped by violence and turmoil It s not a run of the mill love story mainly interested in drama and tension surrounding the main characters, rather it goes beyond that and seamlessly weaves a portrait of local culture and life in Kashmir References to forms like music, food and dress are aplenty and one cannot keep from imagining sipping salt tea in a cozy room or walking along the streets of old Srinagar town Though while reading the book sometimes one does feel that some of the characters are too secondary to the plot and don t fit in and therefore could have been done away with, the author here seems to demonstrate that they are instrumental in understanding the big picture in the context of conflict in Kashmir and how it has torn apart ordinary lives With a blend of poetic prose, strong characters and absorbing social and political commentary, The Book of Gold Leaves is a rewarding read for anyone interested in Kashmir and Kashmiris. When you come back to me, I will tell you everything tyranny and cruelty are their own downfall Remember that There s nothing that I didn t love about this book from it s gorgeous cover to its gorgeous characters and the beautifully narrated strong and poignant story line Mirza Waheed has crafted a beautiful story of people whose lives were inexplicably torn apart with generations of violence Highly recommended Never judge a book by its cover Beautiful cover rubbish book. The heart of this story centres on Faiz and Roohi, two young people who meet and fall in love, but are then kept apart when troops invade their Kashmiri town.I really enjoyed the main characters and the description of their life and feelings for each other, but there were a lot of sub characters and it was hard to remember who they were at times and keep up with their roles in the story The images of war were well written, but no information as to why the conflict began was offered, so this part of the story felt a bit disjointed as the soldiers just appeared one day, and well, that was that I had no idea why they were there, and therefore lost a connection with the story Overall, this was a good read with lots of nice descriptive prose, but let down by missing facts which I m sure would have raised this rating up another star. Having been to Kashmir, stayed there for a while, interacted with many people, and listened to hundreds of stories of the conflict, this book brought back many memories of faces, houses, alleys, families In a very subtle way, this book manages to take us through the days of conflict and give us different perspectives It is rare for fiction from Kashmir to give us a peek into the minds of an army commander who is the oppressor , or talk about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits though I found it a bit muted in the book, given how violently they were attacked But at the core of this book is a love story a story of innocent young souls who are bound together for life by the thread of love I realized that I was reading a love story after a long time, and it filled my heart with warmth Set in the beautiful Kashmir valley, the story becomes even vibrant and vivid.It s an easy read, could have been shorter, and makes you travel into a world you ve never seen but can feel it throbbing inside you. I should have enjoyed this far than I did As the author gave very little away about the history of Kashmir, I recommend that anyone thinking about reading this book arms themselves with information to pad out the missing yet vital details Despite the lack of this background knowledge, the author describes in great detail things like flowers, paints and cigarettes.The other negative that members of my book group brought up was the number of characters and the similarity of their names We all agreed that a list at the beginning of the book would have helped enormously, especially as many of the characters only had a couple of mentions during the course of the book.Apart from the above, this was undoubtedly a beautifully written and moving account of this war torn region.