Farah Bashir's Favourite Reads

A communications consultant and former photojournalist with Reuters, Farah Bashir is the author of Rumours of Spring, her debut coming-of-age memoir about growing up amidst the political turmoil and violence in Kashmir.

Team RD Published Mar 15, 2024 16:51:02 IST
Farah Bashir's Favourite Reads

My Brilliant Friend BY ELENA FERRANTE Europa, 

]The first of the Neapolitan novels is a fantastic read about the different shades of female friendship. I re-read this bildungsroman to conceive an ordinary childhood and adolescence that girls may experience in a no-war zone.



The Year Of Magical Thinking BY JOAN DIDION, RHUS, 

Didion’s memoir is about the ability to process loss after the sudden death of her husband at their dinner table. It rein-forces the ephemerality of life and is a testament to the human spirit that carries on despite enduring an intimate tragedy and preparing for an impending one.



Home Fire BY KAMILA SHAMSIE, Bloomsbury India,

In this adaptation of Antigone by Sophocles, Shamsie creates a portrait of young Muslims clashing with the policies of the western world and offers us a peep into clashing identities from the perspective of different characters. The attempt by a sister to fight for her brother’s rights, to restore his dignity in death, in a world increasingly spinning out of control, is heart-stopping.




It was not the pivotal event of a violent act of love that Sethe, as a mother, demonstrates by killing her own children rather than give them up to a slave-catcher—what stayed with me for a very long time was the way characters existed in their present and their history all at once, relevant even to this day.



Sharon and My Mother-in-Law BY SUAD AMIRY, Pantheon, 

A reflection of the larger political reality, Amiry anchors her book on the 40 days she spent in curfew. She reveals the absurdities of living in an occupied land by describing mundane, everyday life, rendered extraordinary by dint of it being in Ramallah while trying to stay equanimous during a time of siege.



Things Fall Apart BY CHINUA ACHEBE, Penguin, 

Achebe merges the loss of a culture and the transformation brought on by the beginnings of colonialism in the fictitious village, Igbo. While he spells out the fractures induced in its society, the true act of resistance was in his use of the native language interspersed with English, at a time when there were apprehensions about publishing an African writer. To enforce an identity threatened by potential erasure demonstrates courage.



Power, Politics and Culture: Interviews with Edward Said, Vintage, 

This collection is a vast canvas of Said’s ideas on politics, culture, music, activism, and scholarship, the mixing of the two, nationalism, and even Salman Rushdie’s underground existence. I often dip in and out of these short lucid lessons. 



Known and Strange Things BY TEJU COLE, Fabe and Faber, 

This collection of essays establishes Cole’s place as a writer of intellectual depth on non-African subjects. In one of his essays (A Reader’s War), he shows us how façades are maintained under the garb of sophistication while destruction is carried out in the world. What it reveals transcends nationalities; he goes beyond his own worlds and becomes a writer whose words are at once applicable to a Palestine, an Iraq, an Africa, a Kashmir.



The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between BY HISHAM MATAR, Random House, 

The heartbeats and stops at the command of the author while reading this memoir. No unconscionable act of the Libyan regime is enough to diminish the hope that Matar carries in his heart to find his disappeared father. It's a devastating ledger of love, loss, and hope. The non-linearity of the narrative reveals the events from his younger angry self to the measured older self and the humane and dignified writer that he is.



The Late Bourgeois World BY NADINE GORDIMER, Bloomsbury, 

On the surface of this novella, Nadine Gordimer paints an intimate portrait of her failed marriage to an ineffectual rebel, single parenthood, and half-hearted affairs, the crevices of which she fills with the deep apparatus of apartheid. She weaves a mesh of the political and personal with ease and cleverness to expose the interiority of it. There is a quiet force in this book that compelled me to write. Each time, I'd get stuck while writing, I’d return to it


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