Not to be missed!
This whirlwind of a book follows Junior Officer Ali Shigri of the Pakistan Air Force as he entangles himself in the complicated world of national politics. A host of colorful characters all seem to be working against each other, seeking revenge, glory, power, and sometimes love. Throughout the mayhem, Mohammed Hanif sprinkles a generous amount of satire. Although the action unfolds far from the U.S., many of this book’s themes will resonate with U.S. readers, I think.
This is a political thriller told on a very personal level. I connected with many of the characters, and this connection is what kept me quickly turning the pages even though I don’t typically enjoy political books. Despite the complicated, interwoven plot lines and the many characters, this is not a messy, sprawling book but rather a tightly controlled performance. I had no difficulty following the action, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Highly recommended.
Rated of 5
by Miriam (Delmar NY)
A Case of Exploding Mangoes
In the final analysis, I enjoyed A Case of Exploding Mangoes. This may seem a strange way to open a book review, but I really was "iffy" about the book while I was reading it because I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be entirely a farce or historical fiction leading up to the plane crash which killed General Zia-ul-Haq. The ending certainly clarifies which one it is.
The many characters were well integrated into the novel. The juxtaposition of characters and scenes kept the book interesting, if at times, confusing. In particular, the party scene with Saudi guest, OBL was amusing.
I look forward to future novels from Mohammed Hanif.
Rated of 5
by Betty-Anne (Miami FL)
Well worth the read
While it might help, you don’t really need to know about Pakistan’s history to really enjoy this book. Mohammed Hanif has the ability to make you care about varied characters, even the purported villains.
Ali Shigri is the main character, but the book is written from the points of view of multiple characters, which removes it from a narrow tale about revenge, into a much broader story encompassing as many concerns as there are characters.
I found that I was eager to get to each chapter to see what new layer would be revealed about the story. Additionally, Hanif’s sardonic humor actually had me laughing out loud. I am generally not fond of political novels, but if more were as well written as this, I’d probably have to change my mind.
I quite recommend this book
Rated of 5
by Maggie (Canoga Park CA)
Might as well laugh . . .
The worse the world news becomes, the more I seem to be drawn to paying attention - like driving by a wreck on the freeway. As an antidote to that helpless feeling, I've also always been drawn to the fictional therapy of books such as Catch 22 and anything by Vonnegut. Here's another one. A Case of Exploding Mangoes takes the reader to that part of the world we just can't keep from watching with shivers of dread and fascination, and allows humor to provide the glimmer of a hope that maybe its all just an absurd joke.
Rated of 5
by Muneeb (St Louis MO)
Highly recommended creative historical fiction
I think this novel is a brilliant addition to the era following Suleri's "Meatless Days," and Rushdie's novels.
While Hanif writes about loyalty to family, country, and friendship, he also writes about military life in post-colonial Pakistan, decades-long conspiracies, and the politics of Third World and First World interactions.
This is historical fiction, with both comedic (stereotypes, dark humor) and serious (nations and outlaws with weapons) events. It's a reminder of how the past speaks to the present, including both the familiar and the frightening characters from international history.
Rated of 5
by Cathy Grace (Shelton CT)
Something for everyone
If you like dark humor or if you just like a good adventure then this is the book for you. An adventure involving a crow, a curse, some mangoes and some very interesting characters on a very interesting escapade. I loved this book, it was a great read. To those of you who have ever had anything to do with the military...you will recognize some very typical characters that you can find in any army. For those of you who just love to read a good adventure....have fun reading!
Rated of 5
by Barbara (Roswell GA)
An interesting read!
I enjoyed this book. I thought it was well-written. I liked the main character, Under Officer Ali Shigiri, and I think that he really held the book together. As an American, I found it interesting to get a (fictional) look at the Pakistani military and political structure in the late 80s. I think the book, however, (and I could be totally wrong and am not trying to offend anyone) will mainly appeal to people like myself - post-graduate education, lived and traveled abroad, well-read, liberal. I wouldn't recommend it to my larger neighborhood bookclub, but I would recommend it to my smaller bookclub that reads extensively across all genres.
Kenn Nesbitt is new Children's Poet Laureate(Jun 12 2013) Kenn Nesbitt has been named the new Children's Poet Laureate: Consultant in Children's Poetry to the Poetry Foundation, which noted that the two-year position...