Monday, 4 March 2013

A Case of Exploding Mangoes - #31

Image sourced from here
I need to start reading the backs of books.I was convinced that this book was about a Pakistani family and their hilarious drama. So I spent the first 30 pages reading waiting for this to start, then read the back of the book. My thought straight away was, "You've bloody done it again". You would have thought that I had learnt from my Iran read. But hellz no! Learning from experience is for losers. Or something. /sigh

Ah well, on with the show. What the book is really about, is the sudden firey, airplaney death of the Pakistani President/Dictator in 1988 and the circumstances, imagined and real, surrounding it. This is not a spoiler by the way. You're told this happens on the first page. And the back of the book, which is why I frequently don't read them.

We are following the story of a Pakistani officer and his arrest as his roommate goes AWOL. Ali Shigri, tells us what happens to him during his interrogations and imprisonment. But we also flick between him, and none other than Mr President himself, and the people and events that surround him.

It was again a very well written book. I can definitely see why it made it on the mixed blessing Booker Longlist in 2008. It just wasn't a subject matter that interests me. Actually, that isn't entirely true. The political, societal and religious themes very much interest me. Shigri is a drill commander though, and drill bores me. Military things bore me. I'm the daughter of a short time Naval Officer (I got in the way of that) and a career Submariner in two different Navys, but military things, especially things like drill and parade and chest puffing and displays of tanks... *snore*

I'm actually striking it pretty lucky this year. While the subject matter has not always been up my alley, the vast majority of my books this year are really, incredibly well written. I feel like I should like them out of respect for the authors. And it is what has made me persevere with them. I want to know where the story goes as I am lead there by the writing, not because I am entirely riveted by the story itself. 

But the benefit to that is I have no hesitation recommending this on to people who are into that kinda thing. If you like military mysteries or historical fiction, read it. If you like people in stupid uniforms calling each other Sir and obeying their commands with no hesitation because of a small bit of cloth or metal makes them better apparently, then go for it! Even if you are not, like me obviously, then still feel free to give it a go, as there is enough to pull you through. Especially if you like mangoes, as that bothers you right until the end. What on earth is with the mangoes?

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