Unforgettable characters dot Fatima Bhutto’s debut novel

Fatima Bhutto’s debut novel, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon, is populated by unforgettable characters: The Hindustan Times

shadow-of-the-crescent-moon-penguinStrong women characters, poetic language that the Indian reader subconsciously, rather absurdly, believes would sound thrilling in Urdu (like a lyric from a classic Bollywood film miraculously found in translation), and a plot that careens towards a grand blood-spattered disaster: The Shadow of the Crescent Moon, Fatima Bhutto’s debut fiction work is like many other recent novels that have emerged from Pakistan.

Indeed, the reader is apt to wonder if, by some inexplicable fictional twist, she has wandered into a mashup of Mohsin Hamid’s Moth Smoke and The Reluctant Fundamentalist set this time in Waziristan because Punjab has, well, been done to death.

“We tell a lot of stories in Pakistan but we don’t really talk about a certain group of people, we always talk about ‘people like us’,” Bhutto says at a meeting at her publisher’s office in Delhi. “Not much has been written about the way turbulence affects women and those who we’ve pushed to the periphery,” she says revealing that much of the book’s material emerged from her journalistic work.

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