Moth Smoke is set in Lahore in the late 1990s. The reader is asked to judge the actions of Daru, introduced as ‘the accused’, who is facing charges ofMoth Smoke is set in Lahore in the late 1990s. The reader is asked to judge the actions of Daru, introduced as ‘the accused’, who is facing charges of murder of a young boy at the beginning of the novel. What follows is a series of character profiles and evidence offered by those around him presenting the events of his dramatic downfall after losing his job one summer. His life as a relatively comfortable bank clerk is overturned when he enters the partying lifestyle of his childhood best friend Ozi, recently returned to Pakistan from America to assist his government father (who is a ‘frequently investigated but as yet unincarcerated’ government official).
The novel showcases the hedonistic lifestyles of Lahore’s wealthy elite with their imported sushi and party soundtracks. They live behind walls, with their wealth, connections and private security protecting them from any outside threat. The wealth and excess Daru witnesses through his association with Ozi and Mumtaz is undercut by a constant threat of political violence and class divisions. Parties are held to celebrate the successful deployment of nuclear bombs. Moths circle the flame, burning their wings, before being engulfed by the flames. However, Daru is never truly granted access to this world due to his lack of connections. Instead he is swept up by the glamour of it, falling in love with Ozi’s wife Mumtaz who makes his newly found unemployment seem glamorous by association, but ultimately he’s left frustrated by his inability to truly inhabit the world he loves to hate.
It is an engrossing read. The perspectives of the story offered by the narrative structure allow not only for a context to be thoroughly created but also add layers to the story that would have otherwise been lost. Hamid has since gone on to be known for his experiments with narrative, with The Reluctant Fundamentalist being written entirely in monologue form, and this early work offers an insight into a master at work. Reading it felt like you were solving a puzzle – piecing together clues – until the very last chapter when you come full circle and feel obliged to start again. It’s a clever book and one of the best I’ve read in a long time. ...more
I found the style of writing quite simplistic and it detracted quite a lot from the overall effect this book had on me as a reader. Despite includingI found the style of writing quite simplistic and it detracted quite a lot from the overall effect this book had on me as a reader. Despite including clues and snippets of evidence with each section, the writing often spelt everything out until it was impossible to ignore any hints in the text. Stuff like the name Holden, repeatedly telling the reader that he CHOSE that name (like, we get it...it's not his real name) or that she got the scar on her hand or so her mother says (right, so she didn't get it cutting vegetables...)It was disappointing because otherwise it was an interesting story. The final twists and turns were a lot better than the earlier ones. I think your enjoyment of this book all depends on what you expect from something when you read it. Want something fairly simplistic, easy to read yet still full of twists? This is perfect. It's not as clever as Gone Girl, it doesn't really make the reader think, it shows them the twists and if that's something you like, then you'll like this book....more
From the first few chapters I was hooked. There is a delicate building of intrigue and suspense as we learn just enough information about these characFrom the first few chapters I was hooked. There is a delicate building of intrigue and suspense as we learn just enough information about these characters. It fits well with the burgeoning trend of female-led thrillers on the market at the moment and whilst it's not THAT original, it's still a good story and told really well. ...more
At first, I found it quite hard to dissociate the characters in the book from those in the show. Obviously tI read this AFTER watching the TV series.
At first, I found it quite hard to dissociate the characters in the book from those in the show. Obviously there are differences between the two - the show is structured to keep you hooked whereas the diary feels more true to life. I loved it, though. It was funny in a different way from the show and I loved the references to politics and real-world events that went on around the drama. The ending though! What a cliff hanger! ...more