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
Fatima 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.
Novelist talks about ‘strong’ Pakistani women who inspired her and on rumours of Bollywood calling: Gulf News
“Writing is always a long journey, no matter the genre. And since fiction was new territory for me, naturally the process was different,” says Fatima Bhutto, who has made her debut as a novelist with “The Shadow of the Crescent Moon”, after having been a nonfiction writer.
Published by Penguin, the novel is set in Mir Ali, a small town in the troubled tribal region of Waziristan, close to the Afghan border. The author wanted the town, the epicentre of the story, to be a combination and reflection of a lot of real locations in Pakistan and “The Shadow of the Crescent Moon” draws stories and experiences from real life.
Fatima Bhutto’s debut novel, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon, is populated by unforgettable characters: The Hindustan Times
Strong 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. Read more
Fatima Bhutto refuses to participate in the perpetuating of dynasty. Writing fiction, she tells Shougat Dasgupta, is her politics, her way to tell the truth: Tehelka
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”.