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A stunningly humane work of storytelling with a poignant and unpredictable hero at its heart. Mirza Waheed is a major new talent. Goes to the heart of the long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan.

It is Kashmir in the early 1990s and war has finally reached the isolated village of Nowgam close to the Pakistan border. Indian soldiers appear as if from nowhere to hunt for militants on the run. Four teenage boys, who used to spend their afternoons playing cricket, or singing Bollywood ballads down by the river, have disappeared one by one, to cross into Pakistan and join the movement against the Indian army. Only one of their friends, the son of the headman, is left behind.

The families in the village begin to think it’s time to flee, to search for a place of greater safety. But the headman will not allow his family to leave. And, whilst the headman watches his dreams give way beneath the growing violence, his son, under the brutal, drunken gaze of the Indian army captain, is seemingly forced to collaborate and go into the valley to count the corpses, fearing, each day, that he will discover one of his friends lying amongst the dead.

The Colloborator is a stunningly humane work of storytelling with a poignant and unpredictable hero at its heart. In one of the most shocking and brilliantly compelling novels of recent times Mirza Waheed lights our way into the heart of a war that is all too real.

Mirza Waheed was born and brought up in Srinagar, Kashmir. He moved to Delhi when he was eighteen to study English Literature at the University of Delhi and worked as a journalist in the city for four years. He came to London in 2001 to join the BBC’s Urdu Service, where he now works as an editor.


“I loved it. The voice is lyrical, to match the beauty of Kashmir, and yet it is tinged with melancholy and grief, as is the story it tells,” Nadeem Aslam, author of ‘Maps for Lost Lovers’.

“A brilliant, important first novel from a very promising writer…” Mohammed Hanif , author of ‘A Case of Exploding Mangoes’.

Source: Penguin Books India