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46 Reviews
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate, brilliant and unputdownable!
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...
Published on 29 Aug. 2000

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars I heard this discussed on Radio 4's 'A Good Read' and decided to give it a go
The rake’s progress of a young Pakistani man who loses his junior banking job and falls for his friend’s wife. I heard this discussed on Radio 4's 'A Good Read' and decided to give it a go.
Told in various voices as if for a trial, it has the self-consciousness of a first novel (over-structured, heavy symbolism, annoyingly ambiguous ending) and is nowhere...
Published 3 months ago by Bobbie


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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate, brilliant and unputdownable!, 29 Aug. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Moth Smoke (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - I can't wait for Hamid's next book, 3 Jan. 2005
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This review is from: Moth Smoke (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking insight to Pakistani society, 7 May 2007
By 
sam hrt (Lancs, England, Uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moth Smoke (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Involving- a very likeable book about very unlikeable people, 2 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Moth Smoke (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genius of a writer, 18 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Moth Smoke (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
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good work by a rising star., 13 Mar. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Moth Smoke (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading !, 2 July 2012
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This review is from: Moth Smoke (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars What is fundamentalism?, 19 July 2013
This review is from: Moth Smoke (Paperback)
It took me a long time to make up my mind as to what rating I should give. The main reason for that was that this is an unusual book in many ways.

The book is written in the form of a narration by the main character, or rather it is a dialogue but we never hear the words of the person he is talking to. What the second character is doing or saying is clear, but we learn that from the main character. We do not know who this other person is.

At the end, the reader gets an inkling of what the other person may be or is about to do. But the reader has to come to their own conclusions. This is perhaps one attraction of the book, and for me the best one in that the reader has to think about what is being said and is happening and they may never know whether they have come to the right conclusions.

The title of the book is also interesting. Because of the current climate the word fundamentalist conjures up the image of a a person who is very fundamentalist about their religion, more often than not Islam. The significance of religion to Changez, the main character is never referred to. He in fact, believes in other fundamentals. This can be a shock to the reader because the title could have led the reader to believe that the book could be an analysis of how an individual can become a religious fundamentalist.

Mohsin Hamid is a very perceptive writer. There are very many themes intertwined in the narrative; what makes someone leave their country in Asia and become a successful employee in the United States; what are the adjustments and tensions for someone brought up in one culture and having to adapt to another one; what is it that brings about change in a person's thinking and values. There are many more.

This is a book that is easy to read but unlike many other works of fiction, it leaves the reader wanting to go back as there are many questions that need to be asked, and answered. When a book does this to a reader, the author must be very talented.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From hash to hell, 22 Sept. 2011
By 
Ralph Blumenau (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Moth Smoke (Paperback)
The novel is set in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1998. Young Darashikoh (Daru) Shehzad has been fired as a bank employee. He finds it hard to get another job because he has none of those powerful connections which are so essential in Pakistan (always, but especially so at a time when the economy in Pakistan is in steep decline). Daru is financially hard up. His best friend is the prosperous Aurungzeb, knonw as Ozi. (The prologue tells us that in the history of the subcontinent the relationship between two characters with those names was an ominous one.) Daru protects Ozi after having witnessed something for which Ozi could go to prison. Ozi could help Daru out financially; but Daru doesn't want to be beholden to his friend, especially after he begins to have an affaire with Mumtaz, Ozi's wife. (Her description of a loveless marriage is one of the fine parts of the book.)

Daru was already heavily into hashish and occasionally into Ecstasy; the effects of these drugs are vividly described. He is friendly with Murad, his supplier. Murad now lets him have large quantities of drugs at a favourable price, and Daru sells most of them on to the wealthy at a handsome profit. Murad has also slipped Daru some heroin. And of course everything will go horribly bad for Daru. But what does for him finally is not the terrible crime he has committed shortly before the end of the book, but a crime committed by someone else and foisted onto him. Daru has been playing with fire, and he ends up, metaphorically, in smoke like the moths that feature prominently in the story who could not keep away from the flame.

The book is very well written, mostly in short sentences, and with that rarity in fiction: convincing dialogue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner, 17 May 2014
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This review is from: Moth Smoke (Kindle Edition)
I read the reluctant fundamentalist twice and having recently seen the movie decided to try another of Hamids novels! this is a real page turner that follows the downward spiral of the lead characters life after he is fired from his job at a bank, it twists and turns and keeps you turning the pages as the characters explain their own perspectives! a must read!!
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Moth Smoke
Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid (Paperback - 5 May 2011)
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