Review: The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto


In this book, possibly because it is literary fiction and her debut in the genre too, Fatima Bhutto chooses to leave a great deal unsaid and sometimes flits over the surface of things, so that many motives seem difficult to understand and many characters not fleshed out enough: Anjana Basu in The Outlook

shadow-of-the-crescent-moon-penguinFatima Bhutto’s debut novel is set in the scarred outer regions of Pakistan, one of those territories that the state looks down on and rules with ‘ox-blood heeled’ violence. Mir Ali is located in North Waziristan and should rightfully have been a place out of a dream with clear blue skies, mountain peaks and rushing streams where the children go to fish with their families in summer. Instead, it is a place where young men and, sometimes, older ones disappear with no explanations given, where families pack their bags and prepare to vanish once their sons are gone. However, Fatima Bhutto chooses to introduce the troubled one-horse town not through straight description, but through three hours in the life of three brothers: Aman Erum, recently returned from studies in the US, Sikandar the doctor, and Hayat. The day happens to be Id and because Mir Ali is the place that it is, there are snipers on the rooftops looking down on the town as the bazaars slowly open.

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