The Night of Broken Glass (2018)
Author: Feroz Rather
Publisher: HarperCollins India,
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A Kashmiri novelist as well as a doctoral student in creative writing at Florida State University. The debut novel of Feroz Rather’s, The Night of Broken Glass, scatters the splinter of glasses all through the stories, lacerating the night in redolence of cruelty and atrocity that haunted Kashmir during the period of insurgency.
In these intertwined stories, collected in a single book cover, recurrent images of flying glass shards appear and reappear. Splinters of the broken glass pane or windshield of Ishfaq’s brand new Maruti car smashed glass bottles tinkle in my ear in clamorous torture. The novel is named after its last story where the writer participates as the character, uncle of the sweet little Fatema, daughter of Nuzhat, the bosom friend and follower of Rosy.
This book, a spectrum of 13 legends of human lives, weaved in different colours and themes exposes the fragility, brutality, stubborn wrath, religious duplicity, deprivation, gender, war, caste, creed, sex and whatnot.
The first story captures the futile revenge wish of a boy who was brutally tortured and half murdered by Major S and Inspector Masoodi. Barbarically, he was thrown to the murderous depth of the lake tied with a huge rock to die in the pale moonlighted water. But he defeated death in his desire to revenge inspector Masoodi, who betrayed him corroborating with Major S in his brutal torture. Unfortunately, when he got his chance to revenge, Masoodi was already at the terminal stage of lungs cancer. Ironically, he had to serve him on his death bed.
There is Abdul Rashid whose daily ritual was to take his dead son’s Pheran and watch the hole with dark red patches of the bullet. Next, there is the boss, a man of pretension and fake power but also a victim of his strangulated conscience.
Similarly, Maryam is a sensitive, intelligent lady who did not want to lose her passion for stitching and embroidery, that entrust the” ability to reflect and contemplate.”
Again, there is valiant modern lady Rosy with her love for Jamshid, the strongest man with his eloquent voice, son of Gulam, a remorseful watul cobbler.
There are Nagin, Rahaman, Sajeh, Mitesh… all lively and vivid in their own characteristics and way of thought.
Even nature, the snowflakes, the rising smoke of the chimney throw daggers of remorse and suspense in already bleak canvas.
The famished brown dog of Gulam and the white fleeced lamb with eyes lined with kohl and daubed hooves in henna, all are so perfectly interwoven in the tapestry of unrest and trauma.
Together with all these characters, the smell of blood, of rain-washed soil, of Revolution, that Mariam smokes, Ilham smokes, Safir smokes are similarly too tangible.
Extraordinary Graphical Representation:
I have a habit to note down new words and phrases while reading. In this way, the most irritating yet fascinating task while reading FerozRather was to copy most of the phrases or even lines after lines as they are too extraordinary in respect of visual representation of an era, cloaked in blood, betrayal and bereavement. Incidentally, it took me a lot of time to finish this book as I do not want to miss even a single brushstroke of this painstaking description. Here nature speaks in the same language of bullet-riddled pages – ‘The room smelt of dust’, ‘ forest of mute trees’, ‘the willows had laid a siege..’ and so on. And here where fresh lives are bludgeoned to mere flesh, Saussure’s THEORY of SIGNIFIER AND SIGNIFIED fails to connote any significance.
Blood Smeared Jigsaw Puzzle
Every word, every sentence carries the suspense that looms large in the panicked and fear-stricken valleys, hills, and inhabitants of Kashmir. All the 13 stories are woven in 13 different plots and crises of situation, yet they propagate a single vision in their denudation of human dignity and whittling of human voices under the scum of primitive violence. They are like a jigsaw puzzle scattered in different parts but carries the unity of a singular picture – the heaven in earth reeked in ‘ gunpowder and charred flesh… antidote to the civilized mask we feign to wear.
Look at the World through the Peephole of Kashmir.
Within this short periphery of 222 pages, not only Kashmir but also the whole world and we, who inhabit it poignantly stands in front of each other under the sky of naked violence and barbarism.
In the first place, the book has had an immense effect on me. After all, in my life, I will never be able to wipe the blood of the characters and the smell of gunpowder from my air for a long time after I finished it. Finally, the language, laced with discrete poignancy and narrative, bold as bullets, keep on piercing my cognition to thousand slivers.
Hi, I’m Munmun here and welcome to my book blog. I’m an English Teacher. But more than that I love to read books and write down my thoughts. I feel we can change the world by circulating the introspections of great columnists throughout the world. You are free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.