Harper Press £8.99 (221pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Curfewed Night, By Basharat Peer
Friday 25 February 2011
Basharat Peer was 13 when a pro-Kashmiri protest turned into a massacre after Indian troops opened fire. The subsequent insurgency brought his quiet, rural childhood to an end: "The war of my adolescence had started... I fail to remember who told me about aazadi, or freedom".
In this memoir, Peer blends a powerful personal history with reportage. There are childhood stories of dodging bullets on a bus, of schoolfriends embracing militancy, of funerals with empty coffins for sons whose bodies are lost along the Line of Control and the systematic torture of Kashmiri citizens by Indian authorities.
Peer's lyrical reflections end on a hopeful note, but the melancholy of a lost childhood, and his beautiful, embittered land, remains.
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