The Collaborator By Mirza Waheed

Penguin, Viking

ISBN: 978-0670918959 (Paperback)

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. While he 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 among the dead.