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Moth Smoke Paperback – 5 May 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241953936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241953938
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mohsin Hamid is the author of three novels, MOTH SMOKE, THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST, and HOW TO GET FILTHY RICH IN RISING ASIA, and a book of essays, DISCONTENT AND ITS CIVILIZATIONS.

His writing has been featured on bestseller lists, adapted for the cinema, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, selected as winner or finalist of twenty awards, and translated into more than thirty languages.

He was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and has spent about half his life there and much of the rest in London, New York, and California.

Product Description

Review

Sharply observed, powerful, evocative (Financial Times)

A first novel of remarkable wit, poise and profundity. A treat (Esquire)

A vivid portrait of contemporary young Pakistani life, where frustration and insecurity feed not only the snobbery, decadence and aspirations of the rich, but also the resentment of the poor (The Times)

A rare glimpse into modern-day Pakistan . . . The voices that emerge are sarcastic and sad, a lively lament . . . reminiscent of V. S. Naipaul and Salman Rushdie (Chicago Tribune)

Not often does one find a first novel that has the power of imagination and skill to orchestrate personal and public themes of these consequences and achieve a chord that reverberates in one's mind. Moth Smoke is one of the best novels I have read this year (Nadine Gordimer -)

Stunning . . . [Hamid] has created a hip page-turner (Jonathan Levi Los Angeles Times)

About the Author

Mohsin Hamid lives in Lahore, where he is working on his third novel. He is the author of the bestselling and widely praised The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and contributes regularly to newspapers including the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian and The New York Times.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
Moth Smoke is by far the most accurate and honest account of life in Pakistan that has ever been put into print. There are none of the usual exotic 'hooks' used by authors from the sub-continent to pull in the Western audience. The characters are very well-developed, with each of the main characters getting a chance to present the side of the story, and one actually misses them once the book is over. The world Hamid creates is tangible and accessible to people from Lahore, who will no doubt recognize it, and to people who have never heard of Lahore. In other words you do not have to be Pakistani to understand and greatly enjoy this novel. Moth Smoke raises important questions about wealth, poverty, crime and gender and allows the reader to evaluate them by including him/her in the final judgement. Read no more of this...read Moth Smoke.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Alex Ford on 3 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is brilliant. The flashback style of writing is certainly unique, and really gets one engaged. Hamid's grasp of the english language is exemplary. My only complaint is that the book was too short. But the storyline, the emotions and the characters - all excellently captured in his debut book. I think the fac that this book is semi-autobiographical also helps the reader relate to the story. An excellent read
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sam hrt on 7 May 2007
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be shocking and disturbing because like everyone else had a formed idea of what Pakistani society would be like for an author (to write about) and this was not it. Th author has cleverly managed to introduce Western traits (rejection of arranged marriages) in the book blend them with Pakistani ones and then openly discuss them. This is a book which will have an everlasting impact on the reader but its not ever one's cup of tea because it discusses issues which many people will be uncomfortable with for e.g. child abuse & adultery. Definitely one of the most powerful books I've read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Late night reader on 2 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Having read and loved the Reluctant Fundamentalist, I was a bit dubious about this book as there is always the possibility the author is a one-hit wonder. No such worries. Although this book is quite different in content and style, with multiple different voices contributing to the story- not always in sequence, it is just as well-written, engrossing and clever. I often think how good a book is can be judged on the ability of the author to make you really care about the fates of unpleasant characters;the two male stars of this are, whilst engaging, full of some fairly hideous traits.

I'd thoroughly recommend this for anyone curious about his other works, or looking for a quick and compelling read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bibliodysseus on 25 Jan. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Set in modern day Lahore the book opens with Darashikoh Shezad despairing in his prison cell. It soon regresses to the start of his steep decline from prosperous young banker to this sticky end. His narrative is punctuated by contributions – testimonies – from other characters: his partner in crime Murad Badshah; his old friend Aurangzeb; and Aurangzeb’s attractive wife Mumtaz.

Like the moths drawn to his candle flames, Darashikoh circles disaster and makes one unwise choice after another. He is not stupid and knows the potential consequences (ending up as moth smoke), but each incremental step is taken as it offers a slim chance of escape from facing up to his worsening predicament.

The Lahore setting is atmospheric and convincing, against a backdrop of international tension over Pakistan’s first nuclear bomb tests. The internal polarisation of society in to haves and have-nots (of air conditioning) is palpable as Dara moves between the jet set and the shady underclass.

Although increasingly difficult to sympathise with Dara, his story remains compelling throughout, helped by some key late reveals and a couple of twists in the tail.

I am not sure the somewhat strange prologue and placing the reader in the position of the trial judge work particularly well, but neither do they detract from what is a really good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Nov. 1999
Format: Paperback
Mohsin Hamid writes with such pleasure the reader can only feel it too. An acutely insightful novel about a dreamer's downward spiral, the way Pakistani society thwarts him, and his obsessive, destructive, yet entirely understandable love for his best friend's wife.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
Sure, Moth Smoke may have its ups and downs, but it's an amazing first attempt. Over and above the beautifully timed love story, Hamid manages to capture the hypocrisy of the elite of Pakistan, and combines this with his penetrating insights into the genesis of some of the violent crime in the country. His narrative is good - at times world class - but it does lack some maturity. There are elements of his narrative (and indeed character development) that could have been better. However, for a first attempt, it reveals the awesome potential Hamid has. This book is an easy read, so do buy it, and then you'll be able to tell the world that you had noticed Mohsin Hamid rise from his first novel into literary stardom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christine on 2 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book and I would recommend anyone who loves beautiful language and exceptional story telling to read it.
It is a book which completely draws you in to a different interior world that is nonetheless recognisable. If you like books that allow you to stand in some one else's shoes and look out at the world then this is,a book for you. The quality of the story telling is breath taking and lives in the mind for a long time afterwards. In fact I don't think I will ever forget this book, it is that rare thing a book which weaves a compelling story that has you on the edge of your seat and at the same time enlarges your perspective of life. Well worth reading !
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