Theresa (Seattle WA)
I found this book very engaging and interesting at the start. The main character drew me in initially with his direct, seemingly naive approach to his circumstances. But, as the story progressed, I found myself less and less interested in him or the other characters. I found the story interesting, but not strong enough to carry the many characters.
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
William (Russellville AR)
Death to a Dictator
Interesting cast of characters. Strong plot line provides imaginary circumstances and conspiracies that lead to the killing of a dictator in Pakistan. Hanif's characterizations of martinets and over-the-top intelligence officers are comedic and also deadly serious. There is an uneven quality in this debut novel but the story becomes stronger near the end of the book. Read as dark comedy, political thriller, and as a fable for our contemporary world.
Deanna (GAINESVILLE FL)
Exploding Mangoes, Indeed!
Mohammed Hanif has written an extremely seductive yet disturbing tale of love and revenge that takes place in Pakistan about the time that the Russians are leaving, the government is in turmoil, and a young, Pakistani pilot has found his father hanging from a fan-an apparent suicide.
Ali Shigri's quest for vengeance is both horrific and darkly humorous. Read carefully - the plot is very convoluted! The characters seem so "Americanized" that you almost forget this is set in a war torn Pakistan. This is definitely not a Kite Runner type of novel that will leave you feeling you have learned about a culture distinct from your own. But in the end, aren't we all the same? This first novel is highly entertaining, fast paced, and definitely worth reading!
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.
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.
Vicky (Torrance CA)
I laughed at parts of this book but I also considered not finishing it. I did enjoy it at the end although I did find it confusing at times - possibly because I wasn't paying as much attention in the middle. I did like the variety of characters and would have liked to have read more about the female characters.