12 July 2023 | By: Writing Buddha

The Lion of Kashmir by Siddhartha Gigoo (Book Review: 2*/5) !!!

2078th BLOG POST

25th Book of 2023

I generally avoid reading books based on Kashmir as I remember reading Basharat Peer’s Curfewed Night when I was about 20 years old and couldn’t understand anything about the state. I was too na├»ve to understand the complexity of this place which has recently been removed from its special status – a journey which has not been very easy from country’s point of view. Somehow, I believed that after all these years following news and current affairs, I must have got aware of the complete situation and picked up a fiction book named “The Lion of Kashmir” written by an award-winning author, Siddhartha Gigoo.


This 260-pages book published by Rupa Publication is typically about the relationship between a father and daughter who are primarily from Kashmir but staying far away from each other. Unfortunately, one day the father goes missing and from here onwards, the daughter Zooni’s character has been developed giving us a bit backdrop into her past so that we can know her better. Author has been able to keep things easy in terms of making us become friends with the characters and understand their rare emotions which we might have not gone through it personally.


Author highlights the difficult situation in the state and tries emphasizing on the fact of how the local people are divided in two ideologies – where few are pro-India whereas few have taken the opposite and unfortunate path of destroying the people favoring Kashmir being a part of India. The book has been divided in three different parts where I personally liked the 1st and last part. The first part is more about Zooni whereas the last part is more about her father’s emotions about his state and love for his daughter.


Gigoo has become philosophical at many parts and I am glad that he made full justice with this opportunity that the story provided him. I liked few paragraphs a lot where you start thinking about life and the raw emotions shared regarding what one goes through in their tough moments.


Talking about the drawbacks, I must say that the book lacks twists and turns. It could have also given book a completely different shape but author doesn’t explore the thriller aspect at all. The book is lengthy and I believe it could have been summed up well in around 150-200 pages itself. Thirdly, the middle section of the book where the character of Zooni imagines things and few characters is such a boring write-up and I had to push myself in not keeping the book aside. It just takes you away from the story and drops you in between of a process which has nothing to do with the tale. Also, multiple to and fro in the timeline confused me as a reader. Author has good writing talent but unfortunately, there are few good points about the book but the not-so-good are many hence I am going with 2 stars out of 5.






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