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Moth Smokeby Mohsin Hamid
Synopses & Reviews
When Daru Shezad is fired from his banking job in Lahore, he begins a decline that plummets the length of this sharply drawn, subversive tale. Before long, he can't pay his bills, and he loses his toehold among Pakistan's cell-phone-toting elite. Daru descends into drugs and dissolution, and, for good measure, he falls in love with the wife of his childhood friend and rival, Ozi — the beautiful, restless Mumtaz.
Desperate to reverse his fortunes, Daru embarks on a career in crime, taking as his partner Murad Badshah, the notorious rickshaw driver, populist, and pirate. When a long-planned heist goes awry, Daru finds himself on trial for a murder he may or may not have committed. The uncertainty of his fate mirrors that of Pakistan itself, hyped on the prospect of becoming a nuclear player even as corruption drains its political will.
Fast-paced and unexpected, Moth Smoke portrays a contemporary Pakistan as far more vivid and disturbing than the exoticized images of South Asia familiar to most of the West. This debut novel establishes Mohsin Hamid as a writer of substance and imagination.
"Hamid's tale, played out against the background of Pakistan's recent testing of a nuclear device, creates a powerful image of an insecure society toying with its own dissolution." Publishers Weekly
"Moving quickly but inviting prolonged retrospection, this first novel lays bare a human core that festers in its own unremitting heat. Hamid is a writer to watch." Library Journal
"It's Hamid's achievement that we remained charmed by Daru throughout; the fast paced, intelligent narration pulls us, despite ourselves, into his spiralling wake." New Yorker
"[A] brisk, absorbing novel...Hamid steers us from start to finish with assurance and care." Jhumpa Lahiri, The New York Times Book Review
Available for the first time from Riverhead—the debut novel from the bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
Moth Smoke, Mohsin Hamid’s deftly conceived first novel, immediately marked him as an uncommonly talented and ambitious young writer to watch when it was published in 2000. It tells the story of Daru Shezad, who, fired from his banking job in Lahore, begins a decline that plummets the length of Hamid’s sharply drawn, subversive tale.
Fast-paced and unexpected, Moth Smoke was ahead of its time in portraying a contemporary Pakistan far more vivid and complex than the exoticized images of South Asia then familiar to the West. It established Mohsin Hamid as an internationally important writer of substance and imagination, a promise he has amply fulfilled with each successive book. This debut novel, meanwhile, remains as compelling and deeply relevant to the moment as when it appeared more than a decade ago.
About the Author
Mohsin Hamid grew up in Lahore, Pakistan, and attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. His work has appeared in The New York Times. He currently lives in New York City.
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