Sunday, July 05, 2009

A case of exploding magoes

A Case of Exploding Mangoes (Vintage) by Mohammed Hanif

Very interesting book. If you are from the Indian sub-continent and if you have any interest in the intriguing political scene of 1980s, you will surely enjoy this book.

What's this book about? It is supposed to be a novel. But, it is based on the real life events that led to the death of dictator Zia Ul Haq who ruled Pakistan from 1977 to 1988.

Except one or two characters, all other characters in this book are real. Zia Ul Haq is real. His ever powerful ISI chief Akthar is real and so are many others. Other two characters may be real too but since they are not known very well, I think they are introduced to make sure the book comes as a novel.

Book reads like fine political thriller. At times it gets comical especially if you know how politics and idiot politicians of the subcontinent operate.

After reading the book, if you still have some lingering doubts, do read more about Haq in Wikipedia at -

His assassination, conspiracy theories, who may have played part in his killing etc. are very well discussed again in Wikipedia at -

Mohammed Hanif, as the BBC head for Urdu service, I am sure, knows far more than what he could comfortably record in his book. But, it is still a good read.

Language of the book at times gets little tedious and takes away the sensational aspect away. That's one are book could have been better. Thrillers are supposed to be page turners without requiring reader to really 'read'  it.

All in all  a great read.

One thing that comes to mind after I finish reading every one of these political thrillers is, what kind of things go on at the highest levels of our society, who really rules us, what are their motives, how they choose between friends and foes, how they pull off daring conspiracies, is this world full of conspiring people who after each other.


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