Although it has taken just over two years to get around to it, it was well worth the wait.
On 17 August 1988 President Huhammad Zia ul-Haq was killed when his C130 plane crashed in the Bahawalpur Desert with many top generals as well as the US Ambassador on board.
Several conspiracy theories surrounding the crash exist and are still out there today for debate but Hanif’s debut novel takes a different spin.
Through the eyes and voice of Under Officer Ali Shigri we are there in the final weeks leading up to that very day and Hanif tempts us with the following reasonings for the mysterious crash:
1. Mechanical failure
2. Human error
3. The CIA’s impatience
4. A blind woman’s curse
5. Generals not happy with their pension plans
6. The mango season
Or could it be the narrator, Ali Shigri?
Mohammed Hanif is a former Pakistan Air Force officer and at the time of writing this novel was head of the BBC’s Urdu Service.
He writes with wit, sarcasm and a certain tongue-in-cheek. I really enjoyed this novel and thought Hanif offered some interesting insights into the workings of Pakistani politics that I would not have gained had I chosen to pick up a work of non-fiction.
A Case of Exploding Mangoes (Jonathan Cape, 2008, ISBN: 9780224082426, 295 pages).
My rating: ★★★★