Not the kind of thing we normally do but Sorayya needed to read it for professional reasons -- her own current book takes place in an adjacent time period and the same place. I will give you her impressions after I give mine. I am sure that this book will feel like the summer rains after too many years of humid heat in Pakistan. Hanif is currently on tour in Pakistan reading from this book.
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Not the kind of thing we normally do but Sorayya needed to read it for professional reasons -- her own current book takes place in an adjacent time period and the same place. I will give you her impressions after I give mine. I am sure that this book will feel like the summer rains after too many years of humid heat in Pakistan. Hanif is currently on tour in Pakistan reading from this book. For my reading, two things were going against this book from the start.
I had high expectations, in that reviewers were comparing this book to Catch Second, I have just read everything written in English by Kiran Nagarkar, who in my view is one of the three best writers to come out of India and perhaps the best of the three. The language is not poetic nor is it rich with deeper social and philosophical issues. The book is designed to get you to turn the pages, which it does exceedingly well.
The prose has an easy likability, the main character -- Ali Shigri -- is also easy to like and root for. And, of course, the time, place, and themes are very close to home for us. The value of the book for me is in its humor. Official Pakistan needs this levity.
As do those of us who study the events around the occupation of Afghanistan. But the humor of the book does not match or balance its vacant darkness. His characters do not seem to search for meaning in life or a meaningful life. The dictators, generals, ambassadors, political operators including OBL, who makes a cameo all retain their names and are embedded within actual events.
It is only the unknown characters who are fictionalized. Sorayya found it amazing and liberating that Hanif could write this book as a novel. Hanif himself refers to it as an "alleged novel" page Read it and share your thoughts with me.
A Case of Exploding Mangoes
A film adaptation is right now underway. The story is narrated by the lazy and disrespectful Ali Shigri. The story takes after Ali Shigri, a junior officer in the Pakistani Air Force, attends the Pakistani Air Force Academy with his kindred cadets and their teachers—a cast of brilliant characters that are very likely insane. The bore teacher, the hash-smoking American Lieutenant Bannon, referred to everybody as Loot, wears excessively Old Spice cologne. As dedicated Muslim, he attends daily prayers, where he sobs uproariously.
A Case of Exploding Mangoes: Urdu edition novel seized in Pakistan raids
These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hanif said security agents seized stock from his publishers and bookshops Award-winning Pakistani journalist and novelist Mohammed Hanif says copies of his best-selling satirical novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes have been seized. It was first published in English over a decade ago to critical acclaim. Hanif said security agents seized stock from his Karachi publishers and bookshops in Islamabad and Lahore. Who seized the books?