Fatima Bhutto is done talking about politics. Done being asked to explain. Always to explain. She’s seated at this table, in a cramped room in Penguin India’s office, copies of her just published first novel, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon, in a teetering pile in front of her, to talk about books and writing and will not be deflected. “Everybody wants to know the same two things about Pakistan,” she says, trying and failing not to roll her eyes, “they want to know it every week and they want to know it in 600 words and they don’t listen. I feel like a broken record.” Or, she adds, switching to a soupy, yoga teacher voice, “They say, ‘Oh, let’s just focus on the positive.’ Politics is so difficult, I don’t want to listen anymore.” With fiction, though, “when you tell people a story, their attention span, their imagination, expands. It allows you to say more”.