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Mirza Waheed on The Book of Gold Leaves

Kashmiri novelist Mirza Waheed talks to Mariella Frostrup about his new novel The Book of Gold Leaves, a love story set against the backdrop of war and Anne Rice on a precious book.

Mirza Waheed is a Kashmiri novelist whose new book, The Book of Gold Leaves, is a Romeo and Juliet style love story set in war-torn 1990s Srinigar. He talks to Mariella about whether he feels a responsibility to write about his home country and the conflict there. Also on the programme, vampire chronicler Anne Rice reveals the book she'd never lend and why it informs her work. And the novelist Tessa Hadley and Dr Sarah Dillon discuss the joys of forensic dissection of texts as we begin a new series: Close Reading - examining how great writing works.

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30 minutes


The Book of Gold Leaves by Mirza Waheed

A World of Love by Elizabeth Bowen

The Catholic Daily Missal


Read the first chapter of The Book of Gold Leaves by Mirza Waheed

A World of Love by Elizabeth Bowen

The chestnut, darkening into summer, canopied them over; over their heads were its expired candles of blossom, brown – desiccated stamens were in the dust.  Over everything under the tree lay the dusk of nature.  Only the car-tracks spoke of ever again going or coming; all else had part in the majestic pause, into which words were petering out.  This was not so much a solution as a dissolution, a thinning-away of the accumulated hardness of many seasons, estrangement, dulledness, shame at the waste and loss.  A little redemption, even only a little, of loss was felt.  The alteration in feeling, during the minutes in which the two had been here, was an event, though followed by a deep vagueness as to what they should in consequence do or say.  Impossible is it for persons to be changed when the days they have still to live stay so much the same – as for these two, what could be their hope but survival?  Survival seemed more possible now, for having spoken to one another had been an act of love.  No word, look or touch were for some time to be needed to add more: instinctively now they rested, almost apart, under the saturating chestnut, with what they knew at work in them slowly.


Role Contributor
Presenter Mariella Frostrup
Interviewed Guest Mirza Waheed
Interviewed Guest Anne Rice
Interviewed Guest Tessa Hadley
Interviewed Guest Dr Sarah Dillon


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