Book Review: Two by Gulzar

Two is a work of fiction by Gulzar. The novel was first written in Urdu and then he himself translated into English, due to which the essence of the story was never lost. The novel sheds light on India’s partition theme but it does not stop there, it covered the instances up till Kargil War.


At the start of the novel, a fictional village called Cambellpur is shown in the undivided India. Some people are boarded on a truck, as soon as the news of partition hits them; the truck takes them away to some unknown place. Evidently the people rendered homeless because of partition have to start life once again from a scratch: whether they are rich or poor – the life is not going to be same again for them. The way Gulzar has captivated and portrayed the feeling of being homeless is exceptional.

The book is segmented in two parts. In the first part all the characters are introduced. Too many of them and none getting importance more than three pages makes it a little clumsy. Well, one by one the characters are able to leave a mark on readers mind. The horror of the partition expressed subtly is the best part of the story as it advances from that era of bloodshed to the times of border conflicts.

It starts getting interesting in the second part when readers are meeting the same characters again under different contexts. It is a novel about the people of Cambellpur, some of whom were rich, some poor and some extremely poor. The exclusive evaluation of their fate after partition, their traumas and their fight with their fate. By the end of the book readers may feel attached to the characters and also feel like turning the pages again to understand them better. In a nutshell, Gulzar has expertly woven the fates of the characters. Highly recommended book on the lines of partition.

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