Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid

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Mohsin Hamid’s book “Moth Smoke” which was praised by the New York Times as one of the Notable Books of the Year, is a piece drenched in scandal and socio-political drama which revolves around the life of a banker named Darashikoh Shezad, his friend Ozi, and Ozi’s wife Mumtaz Kashmiri. In this deep and intense thriller, Mohsin takes us throughout the city of Lahore as he paints a beautiful picture of the deep class divisions through the parties held by the elite. In this enthralling tale, the author explores numerous themes and displays his masterful storytelling skills.

            Darashikoh is a small-time banker with big dreams of having a high-paying job at a multinational corporation. Caught up in a narcotic haze and doing nothing to improve his situation, he eventually loses his job and finds himself in the depths of despair. At the same time, his friend Ozi returns from a trip to the United States with his beautiful wife who enjoys a posh lifestyle by his side. As he interacts with the rich couple, Dara is drawn closer and closer to Mumtaz as the two begin spending time together.

            Due to the stress of losing his job along with the troublesome financial situation Pakistan was in at the time as a result of the fact that the country’s recent nuclear tests had made it an international pariah, Dara was willing to go to any lengths to make ends meet. In his attempts to do so, he ends up pursuing a darker path of drug dealing and deep secrets. Moth Smoke attempts to expose the class insecurities and political divisions that are still prevalent in South Asian societies. Through Ozi and his extravagant parties we can see the luxury enjoyed by the elite while, through Dara, we can see the struggles of a man with nothing to his name. All in all, this book is a fantastic read for anyone hoping to find themselves thinking deeper about Pakistan’s flawed society and culture.

Rating: 4/5

Read Time: 5-6 days

Author: Mohsin Hamid

Similar Recommendations: A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif

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