A Case of Exploding Mangoes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Case of Exploding Mangoes

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  4,337 ratings  ·  537 reviews
Intrigue and subterfuge combine with bad luck and good in this darkly comic debut about love, betrayal, tyranny, family, and a conspiracy trying its damnedest to happen.

Ali Shigri, Pakistan Air Force pilot and Silent Drill Commander of the Fury Squadron, is on a mission to avenge his father's suspicious death, which the government calls a suicide. Ali's target is none othe...more
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published 2008)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniA Fine Balance by Rohinton MistryThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Best South Asian Fiction
41st out of 332 books — 1,184 voters
پیرِ کامل by Umera Ahmedپطرس کے مضامین [Patras Ke Mazameen] by Patras BukhariA Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed HanifPakistan by Anatol LievenSikander by M. Salahuddin Khan
Best Pakistani Books
3rd out of 59 books — 77 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Naeem
Jul 02, 2008 Naeem rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lal, Omar, Steph, Manu, Nethra
Having read a review of this book in the NYT, we promptly purchased it. Not the kind of thing we normally do but Sorayya needed to read it for professional reasons -- her own current book takes place in an adjacent time period and the same place. I will give you her impressions after I give mine.


I don't think this is a good book but it has to be read.

Its importance is that it fills in a crucial historical period in Pakistan's history and the history of the Afghan resistance to the Soviet Occupa...more
Nilesh
An astonishing book at so many levels and still witty, fast-paced, beautifully-written and thought-inducing.
The first surprise is that a book of the nature can be written about actual, recently deceased politicians in South Asia. I am still surprised that the author was not banished in Pakistan or no major furore was created because of the way it has portrayed an ex-President and other powerful people of the time.
The second surprise - from an Indian angle - is how simple- and petty-minded (and...more
Tea Jovanović
Fantastic novel for those who like to read Vikas Swarup, or Mohsin Hamid, or Aravind Adiga... Novel that has that something... Interesting story, subtle humor... :)
Jennifer (aka EM)
An unlikely revolutionary/assassin narrates a fictionalized (?), ironized and quite funny tale of Pakistan's General Zia-ul-Haq's rise to power, rule and death due to multiple causes. Wondering why there's no fatwa issued against Hanif for this one. Interesting queer twist, and little bits of social commentary poke through the broad strokes of the plot adding resonance and poignancy. Probably a better grasp of the politics would have enhanced the humour, but not necessary for overall enjoyment.
DubaiReader
Political satire.

I am an avid reader of both 'Global' and Historical fiction so this book should have been right up my street. Instead it took me weeks to read and I omly completed it because I was discussing it in a book group.
I did not enjoy it at all. It was certainly not 'very, very funny', as advertised.
I was not alone in my views either; 6 out of 8 other readers at the discussion felt the same way.
Although I hate to categorise books, we felt that this was a book that would be more appealin...more
Ben Babcock
This book has mouldered at the #1 spot on my to-read list for four years. It exited in that unhappy limbo of not being available from the library yet not being exciting enough to make me want to buy it. Since moving to England, I’ve started trying to work my way through the oldest books on my list, so I gave in and bought this cheaply. It’s hard to remember why I wanted to read it in the first place—I think I saw it at the bookstore, thought it was interesting, but tried to exercise some self-co...more
Sana
Ah! Where do I begin to write words on a book I have come to adore with every turning of the page? It's full of those little surprises and shocks a growing child gets to see everyday; before he has the ability to distinguish them as good or bad.

Yes, there is an element of wonder when reading about the alleged activities of the bygone President and the Pakistan army itself and why there hasn't been a voice raised against it. But that it all there is to it from my side.

It was interesting to read s...more
Stephanie
Lucky us--we have a fresh fictional voice of the Pakistani Persuasion, as it were. Mohammed Harif is one very fine writer.

In 1978 General Zia kicked Prime Minister Bhutto out of office, later executing him and "reducing" civil rights under martial law in a harrying ten-year reign until he was mysteriously killed in a plane crash in 1988. Apparently his death spawned lots of conspiracy theories, and in a sense that's Harif's fictional purpose.

His protagonist is the son of a colonel who was instru...more
Windy2go
I picked this book up because it is written by a Pakistani Journalist about Pakistan. I thought it might give me context and cultural insights. I guess it did. And for the few few chapters, I was enthralled. But in the end, I didn't like it. A few reasons. Reason one: maybe because I live here, and I work on policy issues, the book was disturbing enmeshed with reality, and I wasn't equipped to tell the two apart. How much of the story of Zia Ul Haq's plane crash was real? And how much was fictio...more
Sheila
I am not a great lover of satirical novels - to be quite honest I often don't get them! - but this one was topical, being set in the Indian subcontinent, and full of funny oneliners. The descriptions of the Americans arriving for the Texas - Afghan fancy dress dinner at the embassy are great - of course everyone came in Afghani dress - mixed politics, social commentary and sexual innuendo. The sexual references throughout the novel as well as the political aspects of the plot must have been diff...more
Fathima Cader
funny, often darkly so. reminiscent, because of its subject matter of Rushdie's Shame, but not quite as (oh dreaded word) colorful. it doesn't hit you over the head with exuberance and craziness, in the way Shame does, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
i still feel somehow distanced from the novel, as though it hadn't quite touched me. maybe i'm asking for the wrong things, though, as Shigri is a very restrained character. maybe i'd been expecting more of an awareness built into the narrative...more
Mohd Yaakub
BARANGKALI inilah antara novel yang awal-awal lagi sudah memberikan spoiler tetapi spoilernya tidak mengganggu pembacanya, bahkan memberikan lebih elemen suspens. Ini kerana kita sudah tahu kesudahan A Case of Exploding Mangoes, -Jeneral Zia-ul-Haq mati, kapal terbangnya terhempas- tetapi kita tetap berasa suspens untuk menghabiskannya. Di sinilah letaknya kelebihan Mohammed Hanif kerana judulnya saja sudah bikin kita tertanya-tanya tentang apa kejadahnya buah mempelam yang meletup!

Nada satira d...more
Rusalka
I need to start reading the backs of books.I was convinced that this book was about a Pakistani family and their hilarious drama. So I spent the first 30 pages reading waiting for this to start, then read the back of the book. My thought straight away was, "You've bloody done it again". You would have thought that I had learnt from my Iran read. But hellz no! Learning from experience is for losers. Or something. /sigh

Ah well, on with the show. What the book is really about, is the sudden firey,...more
Justin Podur
I read this book after returning from a research and teaching trip to Pakistan in 2008. Pakistan's travails were fresh on my mind. Reading Hanif was cathartic, it was heartbreaking at times, and mostly it was just spectacularly hilarious. It is hard to find books where you are literally laughing out loud, but this was one of them. The early interrogation of the protagonist by his superior officer, where he says "I have seen some buggery in my time..." I still laugh when I think about it.

The boo...more
Steven Salaita
This novel is marvelous. Hanif is often intensely funny. This skill makes A Case of Exploding Mangoes a first-rate comic novel. Like many comic novels, it provides a serious critique of the corruption of political systems, in this case Pakistan under General Zia al Huq. Not only does Hanif ridicule the pomposity and cruelty of Pakistan's military and political brass, he also skewers American involvement in the Afghan jihad against the Soviet occupation in the late 1980s. Osama bin Laden even mak...more
قصي بن خليفة
رواية ظريفة ساخرة خيالية بنى الكاتب حبكتها على قصة مقتل الرئيس الباكستاني ضياء الحق وما حوله من أشخاص وأحداث، ولكن ليس فيها الكثير من المعلومات التاريخية. أعجبني فيها لغة الكاتب وقدرته على السرد بطريقة تشد القاريء. ولكنه لم يوفق في كثير من التفاصيل حيث لم يراعي حرمة للدين ولا ذوقاً للقارئ ولعله لم يقصد أمثالي من القراء فهو كتب للغرب ما يعجبهم ولا استغرب حصوله على تقديرات عالية في أمازون. على الرغم من جودة السرد وتتابع الأحداث إلا انه لا توجد مفاجآت والرواية أجمل اذا أتت بما لم تتوقعه. وكما قال أ...more
Dalia
Although a black comedy this book is a timely read as it reminds us that 40 years of pouring in billions to Afghanistan and Pakistan has not resulted in any structural change that actually helps any Pakistani or Afghan, but instead has just created a different source of graft. Most of the characters in this novel are actual government and military officials, and he accuses former General Beg, who is still living, of mass murder, albeit in a book of fiction- telling that no one comments about tha...more
Aleeeeeza
i just don't have the will to finish this one, what with the bajillions of others books i need to read and all. and the book itself isn't THAT bad--the protagonist *is* witty and all, but the constant anti-Islam humor is just turning me off. like, a lot.

so, shelving it for now. maybe i'll come back to it someday. we'll see.
Katherine
“With its dull grey fuselage barely off the ground, the plane looks like a beached whale contemplating how to drag itself back to the sea, its snout drooping with the enormity of the task ahead” (Prologue 1).
“The only female pictures are in a black-and-white photo feature about Nancy and Ronald Reagan entitled ‘When They Were Young.’ Even at twenty-eight she had the face of an old cat’s arse” (48).
“ ‘If he had spent a night in this cell jerking off to Reader’s Digest, he would have reached the s...more
Catherine Woodman
This from NYT review, and I think it is excellent at summing up this book:

“A Case of Exploding Mangoes” is set in the months before and the days after the crash. Far from coming to a conclusion about the cause of Zia’s death, Hanif gleefully thickens the stew of conspiracy theories, introducing at least six other possible suspects, including a blind woman under sentence of death, a Marxist-Maoist street cleaner, a snake, a crow, an army of tapeworms and a junior trainee officer in the Pakistani...more
Amy
I liked this book overall, although many of the members of the Shanghai book club didn't - most thought it was too "blokey". It captured my attention though, right from the beginning when I realized I had so little background knowledge on it that I had to look up the name of the city in the dictionary to see what country it took place in - Pakistan. I was intrigued because I knew nothing, but knew I should. It involved lots of US players and politics and the Russians in Afghanistan (that mostly...more
Bigsna
Books based on historical facts and those using real life characters are always an exciting read for me. There is a sort of authenticity that builds into the story as the author uses multiple real life characters of the time - somewhat like a conspiracy theory that you want to believe in. Reminded me of how I felt when I read The Seventh Secret by Irwing Wallace, almost believing that Hitler survived the 2nd World War and lived undiscovered and underground until the 1970s carrying on his Nazi re...more
Famma
I have been meaning to read this book for a long time. It’s a General Dark Comical Fiction with strong character, though I still doubt some part of the book. Foul language is used which I guess is a part of normal day occurrence in army. I am not sure how the writer got the intimate details of how first lady sleep or How Arnold aka arnie was planning to spend the night with Nancy and the relationship of Ali Shigri and Obaid.
It also contain a story of Blind Zainab and Scandal of Joanne Herring t...more
Nancy Oakes
Before I read this book, I'd never even heard of Zia ul-Haq, the president of Pakistan who was killed in the crash of a C-130 airplane, along with the American ambassador Arnold Raphel and others. Hanif's wonderful book presents some theories (albeit some needed to be taken tongue-in-cheek) as to what may have actually caused the death of the president. They range from tapeworms to a crow; deadly gas, snake venom given to the main character by a laundry worker named Starchy, a blind woman in pri...more
Ali Fawad
SPOILER: Zia Dies.

This is political Satire at its best! I haven't read many subcontinental books but upon the encouragement of certain individuals I gave it a shot, i'm glad I did.

The content of this book isn't very political at all, in fact, it's anything but. Take a step back and you realize it's just a couple of children dressed up in military attire with expensive toys and a drive to be King of the Hill. This book shows you the behind the curtain life of what it is to be a bureaucrat. I sho...more
Elizabeth Ducie
The “what” is never in dispute. It is a matter of historical record that Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq died in a plane crash on August 17 1988. However, the circumstances behind the crash were never fully explained. This quirky book attempts to address the question of “how”. How was the crash caused – and by whom. And, there are no shortage of candidates.

Most of the story is narrated by Ali Shigri, a Junior Under Officer in the Pakistan Army. At first he seems a disinterested observer; gradually the read...more
Arthur
A Pakistani Air Force officer plots killing president Zia to avenge the death of his father. Several others close to the president also plot the assasination for more sober reasons and by more conventional means.

The novel is a fictional backstory to the death of Zia, a bunch of his generals, and the US Ambassador in an unexplained airplane crash.

The story moves along and Hanif effectively puts the reader into the minds of several of the important characters. This novel has been compared by one...more
Michelle
(See more reviews at www.insearchoftheendofthesidewalk.com )

The Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
Waiting behind a line of people to do something is not uncommon, whether it is to deposit a check at the bank, to get a coveted spot in a popular professor’s class or to get an armful of vaccinations at the travel clinic. The Case of the Exploding Mangoes, in a way, revolves around another line, a line much less mundane. Mohammed Hanif’s tale is centered on the queue of various folks prepar...more
Ali Shahid
Mohammad Hanif has a great writing style and construction in this book. There are two plots building up in alternate chapters to account for the tale of Ali Shigri and Zia Ul Haq. The book provides an excellent context to my generation ( born in the age of Zia), who do not have a series of narratives to explain the mysterious conspirational end of Zia ul Haq.
I started on this book after Ramadan, so the quranic verse relating to Jonas, regarding oppression of soul to Zia-ul-Haq made complete sens...more
Almas Nasar
"You ask for freedom, they give you chicken qurma"

Amid the heaps of books piling on my tbr list,this one has waited the longest.At last when it landed my shelf ,to an ingratiating respite,I liked it.

Dark,bold,whimsical, its a masterstroke of sheer talent only.The political drama of 1980s cant be made more succulent,more meaty and more creamier for reader's consumption.Gladly its not too political to tick off casual reader temperment,and not too naive to be downplayed for its failed attempt to fa...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Pakistani Readers: A case of exploding mangos 25 53 May 06, 2013 09:30AM  
THE LISTS: A Case of Exploding Mangoes 80% 1 5 Jan 20, 2013 04:53PM  
THE LISTS: A Case of Exploding Mangoes 70% 1 2 Jan 20, 2013 04:38PM  
THE LISTS: A Case of Exploding Mangoes 60% 1 3 Jan 18, 2013 04:29PM  
THE LISTS: A Case of Exploding Mangoes 50% 1 2 Jan 18, 2013 03:59PM  
THE LISTS: A Case of Exploding Mangoes 30% 1 4 Jan 18, 2013 12:11PM  
THE LISTS: A Case of Exploding Mangoes 20% 1 3 Jan 18, 2013 11:44AM  
  • Maps for Lost Lovers
  • The Crow Eaters
  • Home Boy
  • Kartography
  • Moth Smoke
  • Trespassing: A Novel
  • A Golden Age
  • The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power
  • The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan
  • Pakistan: A Hard Country
  • Serious Men
  • In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
  • Engaging the Muslim World
  • Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River
  • From A to X
  • How It Happened
  • The Wandering Falcon
  • Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter's Memoir
978660
Mohammed Hanif is a Pakistani writer and journalist. He was born at Okara. He was graduated from Pakistan Air Force Academy as a pilot officer but subsequently left to pursue a career in journalism. He initially worked for Newsline, The Washington Post and India Today. In 1996, he moved to London to work for the BBC. Later, he became the head of the BBC's Urdu service in London.

Source: http://en.w...more
More about Mohammed Hanif...
Our Lady of Alice Bhatti The Baloch Who Is Not Missing & Others Who Are

Share This Book

“The generals who had called Zia a mullah behind his back felt ashamed at having underestimated him: not only was he a mullah, he was a mullah whose understanding of religion didn't go beyond parroting what he had heard from the next mullah. A mullah without a beard, a mullah in a four-star general's uniform, a mullah with the instincts of a corrupt tax inspector.” 12 likes
“He is an innocent in the way that lonesome canaries are innocent, flitting from one branch to another, the tender flutter of their wings and a few millilitres of blood keeping them airborne against the gravity of this world that wants to pull everyone down to its rotting surface.” 0 likes
More quotes…