Shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 Mirza Waheed's extraordinary new novel 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 is prostrate before her God. She begs for the boy of her dreams to come and take her away. Roohi wants a love story. An age-old tale of love, war, temptation, duty and choice, The Book of Gold Leaves is a heartbreaking tale of a what might have been, what could have been, if only. 'I loved it. The voice is lyrical, to match the beauty of Kashmir, and yet it is tinged with melancholy and grief, as is the story it tells' Nadeem Aslam (on The Collaborator ) 'Waheed's prose burns with the fever of anger and despair; the scenes in the valley are exceptional, conveying, a hallucinatory living nightmare that has become an everyday reality for Kashmiris' Metro (on The Collaborator ).
A haunting illustration of how, at the end of last century, normal life became impossible for many of those who call Kashmir home . . . Waheed's talent lies in the vivid, convincing detail he brings to descriptions of everyday lives . The careful meshing of domestic intimacy with political events is done deftly, with integrity. Like his great-grandfather's gold painting, Waheed's work will undoubtedly endure Financial Times