Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $4.99 shipping
Moth Smoke Paperback – May 1, 2011
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
- Item Weight : 8.3 ounces
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0241953936
- ISBN-13 : 978-0241953938
- Dimensions : 5.24 x 0.83 x 7.91 inches
- Publisher : Penguin Books (May 1, 2011)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Daru Shezad is someone we all know -- whether we admit to it or not. He's not "exotic" despite how foreign the locale may be to me or other readers. He's an unemployed man of privilege - in love with the wrong woman and taking his anger out on anyone he deems less worthy than him. We know at the outset that Daru is not going to fare well and everything he does makes his situation worse, but it's so much fun to watch him crater. And he's not entirely unsympathetic. Hamid treats his characters gently, even while he makes us laugh aloud. Then there is the writing and the moth smoke itself - everything that makes the book sumptuous even while it's a meditation on vast wealth, a life of privilege and what we might do to keep up with the Pakistani Joneses.
The novel revolves around the story of a young middle class man who is trying to find his way up in a world that is skewed in favor of rich, corrupt and powerful. There is very strong underlying theme of disillusionment and defeatism that continues throughout the course of the story. Read this book if you are in a reflective mood and looking for something different.
The novel is experimental in structure with some chapters following the narrative in a straightforward manner and others written as interviews with minor characters. Though messy at times, the structure does give some interesting insight into how the different classes function and live in modern Pakistan.
While the book starts, centered in the courtroom where he is accused of murdering a child, it quickly shifts to the story as it needs to be told by the main character and eventually his former best friend, his once lover (who is also his best friend's wife) and brief appearances from servants to pugnacious rickshaw drivers.
Though we learn a great deal about Daru's life, from being fired from his job and living without electricity in the middle of the hot Pakistani summer what is more important is the relationships he has and the different perspectives that all of the characters have on how his life and the story unfolds. I found this enchanting and very well pulled off, it gives the reader a glimpse into other minds and a chance to see through other eyes throughout the book.
This isn't a novel that alienates those who are unfamiliar with the culture of Pakistan, it does a very good job of illustrating the different nuances and differences of life and the author makes several acerbic but accurate observations on his culture. If anything, Moth Smoke is about the plight of the common man in a country struggling at once for footing in the modern world and global economy and the people who are trapped between classes hard to bridge for both old and new reasons.
I deeply enjoyed this book and the style of writing employed by Mohsin Hamid, he at once conveys the frustrations, elation, and tribulations of his characters. Meanwhile he manages to weave together the snapshot of a man's life with the fate of an entire nation, and for that this work should be applauded.
Top reviews from other countries
A lot of the book is from Daru's perspective, but there are also first person accounts from other important characters, as though narrated to a court or a journalist. Some authors would struggle to pull this off whilst maintaining a good narrative flow, but Hamid manages it well. He creates some fascinating characters along the way, and leaves you wondering about the motives of some of them. He also sketches a portrait of modern Pakistan, and the corruption that affects life there.
The sense of place is strongly evoked, and I felt as though I was in Pakistan whilst I was reading. I can see all the settings from the book in my mind's eye, even though I've never visited the country. I cared about Daru, even though a lot of his behaviour was not laudable. He was a believable character and I did have some sympathy with him, although I also wanted to shake him quite often. The supporting characters are also interesting.
Overall this is a really well written book which is worth reading just for the skill of the storytelling alone, but is also a compelling story and a window into life in modern Pakistan.
Like the moths drawn to his candle flames, Darashikoh circles disaster and makes one unwise choice after another. He is not stupid and knows the potential consequences (ending up as moth smoke), but each incremental step is taken as it offers a slim chance of escape from facing up to his worsening predicament.
The Lahore setting is atmospheric and convincing, against a backdrop of international tension over Pakistan’s first nuclear bomb tests. The internal polarisation of society in to haves and have-nots (of air conditioning) is palpable as Dara moves between the jet set and the shady underclass.
Although increasingly difficult to sympathise with Dara, his story remains compelling throughout, helped by some key late reveals and a couple of twists in the tail.
I am not sure the somewhat strange prologue and placing the reader in the position of the trial judge work particularly well, but neither do they detract from what is a really good read.
Told in various voices as if for a trial, it has the self-consciousness of a first novel (over-structured, heavy symbolism, annoyingly ambiguous ending) and is nowhere near as good as ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’, but it’s very good in parts and the style is as mesmeric. None of the characters are likable or intended to be. The portrait of (1990s?) Lahore society is fascinating, though depressing.
As we follow the story's protagonist Dara through a whirlwind of change from the dizzy heights of a high flying Hash smoking banker in Lahore to the dingy back streets in pursuit of another hit of "hairy"
This is the story of self destruction and betrayal on a grand scale set in the backdrop of a region where going nuclear just to keep up with the jones was celebrated in the streets with joy as though the country had just won the world cup.
I'm so looking forward to getting my teeth into the author's other novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and hopefully another novel to follow in 2013!