peteg's blog

Fatima Bhutto: The Shadow of the Crescent Moon.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. More fiction from Pakistan: generational separatism in Mir Ali, near the frontier with Afghanistan. Towards the end I realised this humourless text had more in common with Mahajan's The Association of Small Bombs than with her countryman Mohammed Hanif's brave and funny A Case of Exploding Mangoes. In the small things would have been improved with a solid edit. The ending is far too abrupt: whatever happened to the baby? Why did Hayat and Aman Erum collaborate to sell out Samarra? Or were they intending to blow up the Colonel? I wasn't invested enough in this book to think too hard or be bothered by any inaccuracies. I don't think there's anything spectacularly imaginative here.

Fundamentally I guess I want a book that doesn't capriciously hide things from me. I don't mind a flashback structure that unfolds details, but I have little patience for omissions that are supposed to generate tension. Perhaps that's why I don't find crime fiction very satisfying.

Lorraine Adams spills a lot of words on it for the New York Times. As she observes, it helps if your grandfather is Benazir Bhutto's dad, even if he was hanged by Zia back in 1979.