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My Last Breath (Paperback, 1994, Vintage Classics) 5 stars

Buñuel's My Last Breath is the most fun nonfiction book I've read. Coauthored by his friend and collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière, this must also be one of the best autobiographies ever.

Buñuel was a true surrealist. In this book he explores all his surrealist obsessions and themes of sex, death, dreams, memory, and anti-religiousness with irreverent humour. The book is full of life.

It's interesting to read his cinematic journey and his approach to his art. His account of his days in the surrealist movement is fascinating. It was a bunch of grown men playing pranks in public. You learn more about the politics between members of surrealist movement, the movement's dissolution, Salvador Dali's inflated ego, his excommunication from the movement, and his own encounters with the morbidities of human life.

Our Hindu Rashtra (Penguin) 4 stars

Our Hindu Rashtra (transl. "Our Hindu Nation") is a book about Hindu majoritarianism in India …

The chapters about how Hindu majoritarianism paved the way to partition, apartheid of Muslims in Ahmedabad and the occupation of Kashmir are very informative. The chapter on the history of Pakistan is somewhat longwinded. The rest is a summing up of what's been the daily news for about a decade. Aakar Patel is insightful but can be wordy at times.

reviewed The Collaborator by Mirza Waheed

The Collaborator (Paperback, Penguin) 4 stars

Violent, depressing, compelling

4 stars

Trigger warnings apply. A painful tale about militancy in Kashmir in the 1990s and the actions of the Indian government there.

The protagonist telling his story is a young man witnessing all the horror and tragedy happening to his friends and neighbours. The narration is more of a relentless lament.

I didn't like the ending, which seemed a tad predictable (and reminded me of the ending of Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire), although I understand it illustrates the desperation, hopelessness, helplessness and guilt rather powerfully. These four qualities make up the young narrator's story.

Despite its depressing content it's an excellent read. It might make you want to read his other works and more on the topic.