Kashmir: a place of breathtaking beauty intertwined with the echoes of tragedy. A certain melancholy hangs in the air perhaps. Or so it feels as you read Feroz Rather’s The Night of Broken Glass. Painting a picture of what life would be in a place that bears the burden of much political and social traumas, the book tugs at your heartstrings.
It explores the psychological impact of its turmoil on the natives. The atrocities that those of the marginalised section are made to do in the name of purity, the class and social differences that interfere in innocent love, a man o power who abuses his authority to a tyrannical point, yet justifying it in his own twisted way.
The book traces the lives of these locals which are all loosely tied to each other. The Night of Broken Glass transports you to a world little known to the rest of us. Against the backdrop of beautiful Srinagar, the realities of daily life is a contrast that catches your attention immediately. Little details about the characters, the scene, or the setting add a great deal to the mood. The melancholic tone is carried throughout the book as the intensity of the scenes rises and falls. The most gruesome crimes, the most disturbing events and the most heartwrenching conversations all happen fleetingly. The matter of fact tone of these events only disturb you further more.
Feroz Rather’s writing vaguely reminds one of the style of Khaled Hosseini particularly from And The Mountains Echoed. That could possibly be because while Hosseini traces the lives of individuals against the backdrop of Afghani socio-political situations, Rather speaks of lives in Kashmir’s setting. The Night of Broken Glass takes you through the highs and lows of the characters’ intertwined lives all of which are only extremes.
Rather than commenting on the social or political scenario, Feroz chose to expose the same through the psychological turmoil of real characters who are affected by the same. And I must admit, these human emotions get the message across beautifully.
Publisher: Harper Collins
— Srividya Palaparthi