Book Reviews – Of Gardens and Graves
Two reviews of the Three Essays Collective title Of Gardens and Graves: Essays on Kashmir and Poems in Translation by Suvir Kaul.
As Huzaifa Pandit points out in the first review below, Of Gardens and Graves is “hard to classify into a genre”, comprising as it does essays, translations of poetry and a photo-essay.
Huzaifa Pandit reviews Of Gardens and Graves in The Luxembourg Review –
“To read Of Gardens and Graves is to witness the coming to life of Yeats’ famous line: “A terrible beauty is born”. It is to be reminded, if ever a reminder was needed, of the lingering pain that seeps slowly and eternally through the flooded scars of Kashmir, the scowl of the last half a century that darkens the fate of every subject, born under the auspices of its melancholic sky. It is hard to classify the book into a genre as it repudiates traditional hierarchies by refusing to be neatly categorized into one – it is simultaneously a memoir, a critical commentary, an anthology, collaboration, and a history all rolled into one, held together by a single source- Kashmir. An arbitrary classification of the book structure could be that the book comprises of three basic divisions: Essays, translations and photographs. On a reading, though, the narratives under each rubric just blend with each other, without any manifest hierarchy.”
To read the full review click here
Gowhar Fazili reviews Of Gardens and Graves in Biblio
“The juxtaposition and the parallel reading of poems written by Pandit and Muslim poets is a conscious move to see the shared language and poetry as the “affective glue that binds” them together even as they bear witness to “the destruction of the community”. Kaul does not perceive the suffering of the two communities – of one in the form of exile and its concomitant loss and hurt, and of the other, through militarized repression, systematic humiliation and denial of political agency – as opposed to each other, but as corollaries of the same phenomenon. The extraordinary sensitivity and scrupulousness with which he is able to navigate between the two sets of subjectivity, and not undermine either, despite being personally implicated as a Kashmiri Pandit, who also identifies as an Indian, is remarkable.”
A full description of the book here.