Price: INR 269
Most of us have heard of author Mohsin Hamid’s largely successful novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, having being made into a stunning film last year as well as having sold more than a million copies and being shortlisted for the Man Booker prize after its publication in 2007. But it is his first novel, Moth Smoke that has barely received any recognition in the international market. Its incredible ingenuity and modernism is a breath of fresh air after a succession of novels fond of themes like self-indulgence, scandal and convention.
Moth Smoke’s main protagonist is Darashikoh Shezad aka Daru: a troubled pot-smoking and inebriant man “with shadowed eyes, manacled, cuffed, disheveled, proud, erect.” who has nothing left to lose and embarks on a self-destructive love affair with his childhood best friend Aurangzeb “Ozi” Shah ‘s beautiful wife, Mumtaz Kashmiri. The title of the book is a direct reference to Daru being drawn by the glamour of sex, money and drugs. In addition to Daru’s disparaging soliloquies, Hamid alternates with several voices and second person monologues including that of Mumtaz. Most importantly, he captures the essence of the lesser privileged in a region where the elite can curtain themselves from the realities of poverty, political & bureaucratic corruption and justice of the courts. Hamid has a natural gift for describing places and people rarely discussed in literature that which is represented perfectly in the novel.
Vibrant and complex in its interpretation of modern-day Pakistan, Moth Smoke is a magnificent picture of the world today; one of extensive industrialism, burgeoning commercialism and social-climbing.
Overall rating: 6/10
If you find the book interesting, buy from Amazon or Flipkart here: