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BookBrowse Reviews Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif

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Red Birds

by Mohammed Hanif

Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif X
Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif
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  • Paperback:
    May 2019, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Naomi Benaron
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An American fighter pilot crash-lands into a desert refugee camp in this wonderfully strange exploration of the effects of war on civilians.

Mohmmed Hanif's Red Birds is part Catch-22, part Slaughterhouse-Five, part Kafka's The Castle, and all Hanif's darkly satirical wit and wildly creative imagination. Set against the backdrop of a slice of unnamed desert that could be located in any number of regions, including the northern reaches of the author's native country of Pakistan, it has all the ingredients of a war story, an unflinching exposure of the dire human consequences, and even a sprinkling of magical realism. It's the story of what happens when the war machine collides with innocent civilians.

The book begins with an American fighter pilot, Major Ellie, crashing in the desert after a failed attempt to bomb a refugee camp, "at the end of the world, [a] hideout for some of the worst human scum." The pilot has an undistinguished military career, and this mission was meant to give him the recognition he needed to ...

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