Red Birds: Book summary and reviews of Red Birds by Mohammad Hanif

Red Birds

by Mohammad Hanif

Red Birds by Mohammad Hanif X
Red Birds by Mohammad Hanif
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  • Published in USA  May 2019
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A powerful novel about war, family and love, from the bestselling, prize-winning author dubbed 'Pakistan's brightest voice.' (Guardian)

An American pilot crash lands in the desert and takes refuge in the very camp he was supposed to bomb. Hallucinating palm trees and worrying about dehydrating to death isn't what Major Ellie expected from this mission. Still, it's an improvement on the constant squabbles with his wife back home. In the camp, teenager Momo's money-making schemes are failing. His brother left for his first day at work and never returned, his parents are at each other's throats, his dog is having a very bad day, and an aid worker has shown up wanting to research him for her book on the Teenage Muslim Mind. Written with his trademark wit, keen eye for absurdity and telling important truths about the world today, Red Birds reveals master storyteller Mohammed Hanif at the height of his powers.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Stranger and stranger. Hanif has written a splendidly satirical novel that beautifully captures the absurdity and folly of war and its ineluctable impact on its survivors. At turns funny and heartbreaking, it is a memorable contribution to the literature of conflict." - Booklist (starred review)

"Funny, fresh, and not afraid to draw blood, this is an unusual gem of a book." - Kirkus (starred review)

"Hanif (A Case of Exploding Mangoes) has written a biting satire in the form of a literary ghost story brimming with boundless compassion and a deep appreciation for absurdity in what is, ultimately, an unwinnable conflict." - Library Journal

"Red Birds is a fresh marvel, describing with cool wit and steely yet tender intelligence the interlinked fates of antagonists in a forgotten war-scape – and the complicity of our own sheltered lives in remote conflicts." – The Guardian (UK)

"An impressive multi-voiced performance that straddles bitter tragedy and pungent black comedy, grounded realism and flighty absurdity … Red Birds thrums with rambunctious energy… this is writing with guts, satire with bite" – The National (UK)

"An acutely observed refugee tale … Both achingly realistic and elusively metaphysical … dripping with exuberant disdain for the way in which western power has corrupted the world … an effective satire that reminds us that everybody – refugees, distraught mothers, unthinking airmen, well-meaning aid workers, dogs and ghosts – has a need to love, and be loved" – The Observer (UK)

"A blistering, savage, tragicomic satire about the cruelty of war and the impossibility of peace … Hanif writes of violence and bitterness with flashes of hilarity that underline his anger and his humanity." – The Times (UK)

"Hanif has a talent for taking the most serious subjects…and, in a style indebted to Joseph Heller's Catch-22, emphasising their fundamental absurdity through satire. Hanif's authorial gifts are undeniable and Red Birds is written with ambition and powerful satirical anger." –Literary Review (UK)

"Deploying a relentlessly grim gallows humour, Hanif skewers the entrenched insanity of conflict … Hanif's bleak, formidable use of irony burns deeply." – The Daily Mail (UK)

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Author Information

Mohammad Hanif Author Biography

Mohammed Hanif was born in Okara, Pakistan. After leaving the Pakistan Air Force Academy to pursue a career in journalism, he worked for Newsline, India Today, and The Washington Post. He has written plays for the stage and screen, including a critically acclaimed BBC drama and the feature film The Long Night (2002), Pakistan's first digital feature film. Hanif is a graduate of the University of East Anglia's creative writing programme. His first novel, A Case of Exploding Mangoes, was published in 2008. It was longlisted for the 2008 Booker Prize, and shortlisted for the 2008 Guardian First Book Award and the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize in the Best First Book category. He was head of the BBC's Urdu Service and lived in London but moved back to Pakistan in 2008. His second book Our ...

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