In the Valley of Mist

Hardy, Justine. In the Valley of Mist: Kashmir: One Family in a Changing World. New York: Free Press, 2009.

Reason read: the Kashmir earthquake of 2005 happened in October.

Just to orientate you: Kashmir separates India and Pakistan. Both areas had been warring over this beautiful area for decades. Meanwhile, a separatist insurgent group within Kashmir also sought independence. By 1989 rising tensions finally gave way to major conflict. Justine Hardy wanted to tell the story of the innocent families living within the conflict. With their blessing, via In the Valley of Mist, she attempts to expose the corruption and controversy caught between three very different worlds. Everything, from manner of dress to religious convictions, are examined.

As an aside, I tend to count things when I get annoyed by something. This time it was how often Hardy referred to the region’s beauty, calling it pretty or sweet or beautiful. I think she wanted to emphasize it’s attraction to starkly contrast it with the ugliness of war and the utter destruction after the 2005 earthquake.

Author fact: Hardy was a British journalist of over twenty years who has written six books. I am reading just this one.

Book trivia: In the Valley of Mist has a great collection of photographs, most of them include the author’s handsome face.

Nancy said: In the Valley of Mist “takes place against a backdrop of Calcutta and a sea voyage” (p 213). I think Pearl was reading an entirely different book. For starters, Calcutta is nowhere near Kashmir (Calcutta is south of Kashmir by nearly 1,700 kilometers) and I didn’t see any “sea voyage” as a focal point. The jihad, the insurgency, the oppression of women. Those were the main points of In the Valley of Mist in my mind. True, the family Hardy spent time with lived on houseboats, but they were on the Dal lake, not the ocean.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust to Go in the chapter called “Sojourns in South Asia: India” (p 213).



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