Basharat Peer’s Curfewed Night

Book Review by Sumaira Samad

Curfewed Night is the memoir of young Kashmiri journalist Basharat Peer, recounting his youth in the troubled valley during the ’80s and ’90s. A harrowing look at the political strife and armed conflict that has torn Kashmir apart over the last 30 years, Curfewed Night is nothing if not personal. The people, places and events Peer describes are ones he encountered and experienced first hand. They are his parents and neighbours and friends. Yet, despite this intimacy, essential to any good memoir, Peer’s narrative is refreshingly honest, frank and unbiased. His is no polemic, and sentimentality, self-pity and melodrama take a back seat.

Beginning in the years before the struggle, Curfewed Night invites the reader into a beautiful, peaceful mountain paradise where the regular, slow rhythms of village life make up one’s existence. Peer lives a happy, uneventful childhood, surrounded by a loving family and tight knit community. But this apparent serenity, as it turns out, is merely the glassy surface, hiding a quagmire beneath. The shadow of Kashmir’s turbulent history and unresolved conflicts never quite goes […]