Global Read: Kashmir, India

Daniella McCarron hopes a little corner of Kashmir retains the beauty of Thomas’ description in this week’s Global Read.

Rosie Thomas presents a story of love, war, deception and courage in The Kashmir Shawl, but above all writes an enticing picture of Kashmir’s lakeside city, Srinagar, that perfectly depicts the Venice of the East.

In warring 1940s India, Nerys Watkins is separated from both her home and husband as he fights for his life in a new and hostile environment. Left alone, Nerys begins to explore a beautiful new land of independence, opportunity and temptation with her new accomplice Myrtle McMinn; a world of cocktails, dance and local culture that will turn her world upside down. Years later, Nerys’ granddaughter finds a shawl in her legacy that will lead her into this secretive world her grandmother held close.

Enchanting and dream-like imagery that stands in vast contrast to the rage of war depicts vibrant houseboats along the Dal Lake and “the soft blend of a thousand shades of blue and silver and lavender mingled with pale green and gold”; asserting Thomas’ testimony that Kashmir is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Thomas achieves an alluring new vision of wartime India: one where the merge of Indian and British culture and the lives of those outside the war are vibrant and full of excitement. Finishing The Kashmir Shawl you just hope a tiny corner of this dazzling part of India still remains.

The Kashmir Shawl is available now from Harper Collins

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