Steven Salaita's Reviews > A Case of Exploding Mangoes

A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
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Nov 20, 10


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 makes a cameo in the novel, wearing a blue suit and behaving petulantly.

The novel's comic elements are intertwined nicely with historical commentary. One of the most interesting characters for me is the sneaky and ruthless General Akhtar, who in the end gets his just desserts. Hanif covers pretty good range in the novel: politics, sexuality, conspiracy, vengeance, imperialism, patrimony, and so forth.
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