Kashmir

The Partition Trilogy

by Chandra Sundeep
359 views
Cover picture of Kashmir by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar

Being a book enthusiast comes with its own set of quirks, and I’m no exception. Each year, I go through a ritual of carefully selecting the first book to kick-start my reading journey. It’s all about setting the right tone, isn’t it? This time around, after much contemplation, I dove into Manreet Sodhi Someshwar‘s ‘Kashmir,‘ the thrilling finale of The Partition Trilogy, as my inaugural read for 2024. Though I have mixed feelings about the experience, there’s no denying that it’s an interesting and well-researched book. Blending real and fictionalised events and characters, Someshwar presents her readers with a significant and bloody chapter in India’s partition.

Picture this: 1947, a time when Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir is torn between dreams of independence and the looming pressure to join Pakistan due to the Muslim majority. As marauding tribal cross the border, unleashing havoc, Singh reaches out to India for help, ultimately setting the stage for Kashmir’s accession to India. The tale unfolds against the backdrop of the first Indo-Pak war, altering the course of history between the two nations.

Traversing across various cities in India and Pakistan, the candid narrative highlights fictional scenes behind the political negotiations between leaders, the rabid tribal ravaging the pristine land, brave army personnel weathering unwelcome conditions to defend the nation, the plight of the common man, and courageous women who face inhumane brutality and remain resilient.

This meticulously researched piece of work shows the unknown and intimate sides of various historical figures and political leaders. Most of the female characters are inspired by true events and emerge as beacons of inspiration.

Someshwar’s storytelling is a treat to the senses. I was transported to the picturesque landscapes of Kashmir, taking in the sight of the enchanting chinar trees, or navigating the steep slopes with Zooni, or living in the houseboats with Kashmira’s family.

Yet, despite the smooth language and vivid imagery, I yearned for a deeper emotional connection to the harrowing events of the partition. The story is more like a commentary on events that transpired and stopped short of stirring my emotions. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped to, but would still recommend it to readers of historical fiction.

Kashmir is a well-researched and informative book and provides detailed information on events surrounding Kashmir’s accession to India.

 

Wordsopedia Rating 3/5

 

Title: Kashmir Author: Manreet Sodhi Someshwar
Publisher: HarperCollins India Publication date: 01 Dec 2023
Genre: Fiction—Historical Format: Paperback
ISBN: ‎ 978-9356995406 No. of Pages: 328

Buy your copy here on Amazon

About the author

Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is a bestselling author of nine books, including the award-winning The Radiance of a Thousand Suns and the critically acclaimed The Long Walk Home. Hailed as ‘a star on the literary horizon’ by Khushwant Singh and garnering endorsements from Gulzar for two of her books, Manreet and her work have featured at numerous literary festivals. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, the South China Morning Post, and several Indian publications. Manreet lives in New York City with her husband, daughter and cat.

 

This post is powered by Blogchatter’s Book Review Program

This post is part of the Bookish League blog hop hosted by Bohemian Bibliophile

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27 comments

Matheikal January 15, 2024 - 7:06 am

I read the author’s Hyderabad and found it good. Maybe I’ll read this too.

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Chandra Sundeep January 21, 2024 - 10:55 am

I haven’t read Hyderabad but it is on my TBR. You might like Kashmir too.

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Matheikal January 17, 2024 - 12:18 pm

The author’s Hyderabad did hold my attention. I’d like to read this too.

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Ambica January 18, 2024 - 3:56 pm

After reading Kashmir, I am actually inspired to read her award-winning book. The war-torn region is too emotional a subject. I visited Kashmir in 2022, and the situation remains uncertain. the present is still an unresolved area. I hope the state, rather union territory for the time being, is restored to its crowning glory position.

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Chandra Sundeep January 21, 2024 - 10:55 am

Amen to that!

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Preeti January 19, 2024 - 6:20 pm

I have seen the trilogy get rave reviews everywhere and you just consolidated that view with your positive review. War and strife zones are difficult subjects and human misery is something that drags one down but I find the turn of events and the narration very fascinating.

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Chandra Sundeep January 21, 2024 - 10:54 am

Are you planning to read this series?

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Suchita January 21, 2024 - 11:00 am

I also carefully select a book that will begin my new year’s reading journey. I have tried reading Manreet before but I find the writing a bit difficult to engage with.

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Chandra Sundeep January 21, 2024 - 11:02 am

Similar feelings! I liked her writing style but I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I hoped to.

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Tulika January 22, 2024 - 3:00 pm

I like historical fiction but if the book doesn’t provide an emotional connect it reads like non-fiction. And that’s a pity.

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Chandra Sundeep January 26, 2024 - 5:32 pm

Just don’t go my opionion alone, though. Give it as shot!

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Manali January 22, 2024 - 11:11 pm

Yours is the second review of this book I’ve landed upon in the past few days. I’m taking this as a sign from the universe to pick up this book. The lack of emotional connect is making it dicey though, Let’s see

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Samata January 23, 2024 - 11:28 pm

I read Hyderabad by the author and it was a masterpiece but missed the copy of this book which I will arrange somehow for sure. Thanks for the lovely review

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Cindy January 24, 2024 - 5:09 pm

I’m not into historical fiction so I won’t bother reading this. Like you I would also want that emotional connection when the story is about history.

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Harshita January 24, 2024 - 7:48 pm

So it seems two people reviewed this book for Bookchatter and both had differing views :)
Anyhoo, Kashmir is on my TBR, it is no secret that Manreet is one of my favourite authors. I get what you are getting about the emotional connection. I felt it in Hyderabad since I expected it to be a follow-up of Lahore. However, I realised later that the superficiality of emotions in the characters is a different way of reading the same thing ( do I make sense? no? )

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Ahana Rao January 24, 2024 - 7:53 pm

This is the second time I’ve heard of this book. I really liked your observation of it; claiming how it states and narrates events rather than delves into the emotions of it. I think that’s a great thing to warn a reader to expect.

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Ninu Nair January 25, 2024 - 12:36 pm

Agreed, Someshwar’s writing is a treat to the senses. I have read Hyderabad and really liked it, so surely adding this to my TBR.

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Sivaranjini January 26, 2024 - 5:00 pm

Your review sounds amazing when you wrote that you felt like living with the characters in the book in Kashmir I understand that the author has done a lot of research to make you feel the reality in the fiction written.

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Sukaina Majeed January 29, 2024 - 6:37 pm

this is a book I am looking forward to this year. After the first two this is something that I had been waiting for since 2022. Thanks for this review.

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Chandra Sundeep January 30, 2024 - 11:57 am

Happy reading :)

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Jaideep January 30, 2024 - 8:21 pm

Your thoughtful review of “Kashmir” by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar provides a well-rounded perspective on the book. Your ritual of choosing the first book of the year is relatable, and your selection of “Kashmir” for its historical depth is intriguing. The detailed description of the book’s setting and its portrayal of historical events, blending fact and fiction, adds richness to your commentary. Your acknowledgment of the well-researched aspects, the intimate portrayal of historical figures, and the vivid storytelling style reflects a keen appreciation for the author’s craft. The desire for a deeper emotional connection is a valid point, and your balanced rating and recommendation make the review informative for potential readers. Well done!

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Chandra Sundeep February 3, 2024 - 12:06 am

Thanks you so much!

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Yesha January 31, 2024 - 8:02 pm

I loved previous books in this trilogy. Somehow I couldn’t request this one in time, I hope to get this soon. Great review!

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Chandra Sundeep February 3, 2024 - 12:06 am

Oh, if you loved the previous ones, you might like this one too.

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Nikita February 6, 2024 - 12:02 am

I’m so glad I’ve joined this blog hop; you guys are something else in writing these essays on books. Brilliantly written!

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Chandra Sundeep February 10, 2024 - 1:27 pm

Oh, you are so generous in your praise! Thank you

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Ritu February 12, 2024 - 3:58 pm

I am waiting to read the book. The charm of the first two in the trilogy was the balance between the politics and the emotional connect. It is interesting to read two different views of the same book that are diametrically opposite. Proves that we all read books differently.

Welcome to Bookish League, Chandra. So glad to have you with us.

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