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Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid
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's review
Sep 07, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-stars-favourites
Read in September, 2009

I could only think of one word to describe this book when I finished reading this book and that was a pathetic 'Amazing'. I was left speechless by the magnitude of its 'Amazingness'.

A book dealing with the one reality of our dear country with such truth and horror that I was left almost shaking with enlightened disbelief. Everyone is guilty of one thing or another but no one is held accountable for what they actually did, instead are convicted for a crime that was not of their doing. The moths seemed to symbolise our people and the flame was a symbol of the various temptations and obsessions we so easily give in to, be it wealth, lust or spite and jealousy. We seem to be drawn in by the outward magnificence of the flame's glorious burning but fail to comprehend that if we get to close to it the inevitable singing will occur as we too become a fuel for it: an ever consuming furnace.

As far as the strange case of Darashikhu Shehzad is concerned, he is a disturbed fellow whose downfall seems to be catalysed by the entry of Mumtaz into his life. He was doomed to fall from the start and failed to feel sorry for him at any point in the novel except one. Ironically, I felt for him only when he shot at the little boy in the boutique. He was not in control of his actions at that moment and it seemed rather clear that he was going to do something that he would live to regret. However, to be tainted by the murder of an innocent child and that too out of spite and hatred for another innocent child undeserving of such feelings was his ultimate falling. I kept on wishing that somehow things could have turned out differently on that fateful day.

Mumtaz, a woman who was trapped in a situation she had brought upon herself: to be married when she least wanted to settle down and to have given birth to a child when she least wanted to be responsible for anyone.

Aurangzeb, AKA Ozi, the infamous wealthy son of a wealthy man, who has gotten pretty much everything he had ever desired. I have to admit that he was my least favourite character in the book. A man who supports corruption without guilt, who has grown up into a selfish jerk, who does not talk to his friend for days just because he showed disapproval when disapproval was justly shown. In short he was nothing more that a man indifferent to all things but those directly related to his well being. I don't blame him for being so, but I don't like him either. He is the ultimate example of that sort of person about whom a girl's parents warn her to stay well away from.

Murad Badshah, a fat man wanting not to be told what he really is. Not in terms of his weight and neither in terms of his criminal status. A man who is so self righteous in contrast to his actual being which is anything but righteous, I believe he was truely an incredible creation. What shocked me though was the fact that what was a man with a masters degree doing in the rickshaw business, especially in a time when the demand for english language was running so high? This made his position rather unbelievable for me but nonetheless amazing.

All in all, I believe that this book is a must read for all those interested in the socioeconomic state of Pakistan, as it sheds true light onto most of what is still happening in 'our poor country', the only one innocent out of all those who have ever been brought in court.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kerry Surely Snowy Angel the whole point is that wasn't the fateful day, that just shows us more of a decline, it is the boy who is a victim of hit and run that is the crux of his downfall.

Anum It was a fateful day, because he was going to be punished by karma one way or the other. He murdered someone but was arrested for the murder of someone else... Fate wasn't going to let him get away with his crimes. Punishment was due one way or the other... :-/ that is at least what I think I was implying when I wrote this review... :-)

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