Nominated | Book Awards 2019 | Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)
‘Thus, I begin, not at the beginning, but at the end when I had met her for the first time.’
Mehr, a Shia woman from Pakistan, falls in love with Firdaus, a youngster from Kashmir. Sundered by an unforgiving border, Mehr writes to her beloved, begging him to meet her. Firdaus relents, not knowing that the two of them are consumed by something far more dangerous than love and passion. They have caught the eye of Indian Intelligence and stirred the suspicion of one particularly tenacious officer. A deadly pursuit ensues. The lines between betrayal and revenge, deception and loyalty, love and madness, dream and reality stand blurred.
In Mehr, award-winning author Siddhartha Gigoo plumbs the depths of obsession in its many forms: love, patriotism, religion. Equal parts tragic and heroic, the novel explodes the boundaries between people and countries, finding peace amid the chaos of war and love in the shards of desolation.
Siddhartha Gigoo has earlier written the Garden of Solitude and A Fistful of Earth and Other Stories. The latter was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2015. Siddhartha also co-edited A Long Dream of Home: the Persecution, Exodus and Exile of Kashmiri Pandits. In 2015, he won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Asia) for his short story, the Umbrella Man. His two short films, the Last Day and Goodbye, Mayfly, have won various awards at international film festivals. He lives in New Delhi, India.