Saturday, August 16, 2014
Chef by Jaspreet Singh
(Written Jan. 5, 2011) I read Chef a few weeks ago and am just now getting time to write a comment. By coincidence, headlines in the Guardian January 4, 2011: "The influential governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, Salman Taseer, has died after being shot by one of his bodyguards in the capital, Islamabad." Reading the newspaper articles about this most recent assassination and the comments from readers, especially from Pakistani people, reveals how complicated and destructive politics is in that country/region.
Chef is a work of fiction which brings some of the complications of India/Pakistan politics and military friction to life in the main characters--Kirpal Singh "Kip", and his former teacher, Chef Kishen--in a flash-back return to Kashmir from India. Even Death is personified in Kip's reflection on his own mortality (he has cancer), as he returns to the desolate, war-ridden region of northern Pakistan. There is much at work in this lyrical novel, much think about, and it was very effective in raising my interest to know more about this region and its seemingly endless conflict.