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A Case of Exploding Mangoes

by Mohammed Hanif

This anarchic and absurd black comedy tells the story of General Zia standing between communism and the free world and of officer Shigri standing for his life. It's a mixture of beautiful language, sensuality and hardness like eating Crème Caramel in the baking heat of Pakistan. Intriguing and disturbing in equal measure.

Extract

But this ritual of handing over an envelope containing a couple of hundreds of rupees to a woman who didn’t have a man to take care of her made him feel exalted. The gratitude on these women’s faces was heartfelt, the blessings they showered over him were genuine. General Zia believed that Allah couldn’t ignore their pleas. He was sure their prayers were fast-tracked. A television producer with an eye for detail walked up to the Information Minister and pointed to the banner that was to serve as the backdrop for the ceremony. President’s Rehabilitation Programme for Windows, it read. The Information Minister knew from experience that a spelling error could ruin General Zia’s day and his own career. General Zia photocopied the newspaper articles, even those praising him, and sent them back to the editors with a thank-you note and the typos circled in red. The Information Minister place himself strategically in front of the banner and refused to budge during the entire ceremony.

Parallels

Libra by Don De Lillo
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Vernon God Little by DGC Pierre
 

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