The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay follows Shalini, a young woman from Bangalore, India who decides to travel to a small village in Kashmir, to search for Bashir Ahmed, a Kashmiri salesman who had a close bond with her mother. As she goes on the quest, she finds herself getting involved with the people of the trouble-ridden region.
This book creates a vivid atmosphere, using prose that really brings the landscape to life. The main character is a really complex, flawed character. As we see Kashmir through her eyes, we also see her personal struggles with a certain detachment. She comes from a background of privilege, and the dissonance between her perspectives (and by extension those of the privileged in general), and that of the people of the village she travels to makes for a very poignant read. The book also does not take a definitive stance on the conflict in Kashmir, as that was not its aim; however the dealing of the subject seemed quite nuanced and empathetic. Overall, a great read.