Weddings and Beheadings by Hanif Kureishi

I was going to give a miss to Sunday Scribblings. However, after reading the following short story, I couldn’t resist posting the review here. I felt it goes right with the prompt, Weddings. It might be too dark for some but this is another ugly reality of the world we live in. Let’s face it too…

You may choose to read it and write own your thoughts about it or you may choose to ignore it. I leave in on to you.

Weddings and Beheadings by Hanif Kureishi is an interesting title. I found it online in a back issue of Zoetrope: All-Story.

The narrator seems to be a film-maker who is made to video tape beheadings by some people who seem to be terrorists. Although the place is not mentioned, it might have been set in Afghanistan or Iraq or any such place. At least thats what I presumed. It is a short story but makes one sit up and notice. Here the narrator, the place and the terrorists, all remain nameless.

It is dark, deeply sad for the victims as well as their families yet it has that black humour. To quote a few lines of conversation between friends who take such shots:

“Don’t bury your head in the sand, my friend. Don’t go losing your head now. Chin up!”

“It’s too dark, it’s not going to come out and you can’t do another take.”

“You’ll get a prize for the next one. Don’t you guys love prizes and statuettes and stuff?”

At one point you do feel he is enjoying his work in a macabre way.

“To make the shot work, it helps to get a clear view of the victim’s eyes just before they’re covered. At the end the guys hold up the head streaming with blood, and you might need to use some handheld here, to catch everything. “

Maybe it his way of being clinical. After all it can affect the mind. This line of work. How did the title come about? It was an idea of one of the writer friends of the narrator to have “calling cards inscribed with WEDDINGS AND BEHEADINGS.”

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