Songs of the Reed

by Heena Singhal


A man close to death is discovered somewhere in strife-torn Kashmir, alone but for the company of birds, in a decrepit room that is silent but for their agitated songs. Where does ‘The Birdman’—as he is named by his perplexed rescuers—belong? In which soil is his misery rooted?

Roots are in fact the leitmotif of Heena Singhal’s Song of the Reed, inspired by Rumi’s poem of the same name, which talks of the lament emerging from the flute, and the longing to unite with its source: the stem from which it is cut and fashioned for the satisfaction of others.

The narrative stretches itself over countries and continents, beginning with the experience of Noor, a disillusioned girl of mixed heritage in contemporary Spain, who embarks on a quest for her real home.

Meanwhile, bright and beautiful Reva, from an orphanage in New Delhi, also resolves on an energetic hunt for her lost family, reminding herself every step of the way that grieving is a luxury only for the privileged.

Somehow, their disparate paths cross, united by their common compulsions. Separately and together, they search for a meaning to the love and hate in their private lives and in the world, coming to realise that in Kashmir, at least, the war between the two is never truly over.

About the author:

Heena Singhal has a degree from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and a degree in Commerce from The Delhi University. When she is not writing, she is reading, spending time with her girls, painting or choosing the books for her Children’s Book Club. She began writing this book when her first daughter was born in 2017 and completed it in 2022 around the time her second one arrived.

The Songs of the Reed is her first novel.

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