“Lightin’ Hopkins is my muse, has been for years, it’s music deeply rooted in the part of the country I come from, and with Lightnin’ there are always moments of defiance." Attica Locke
Posts tagged "Pakistan"
Sanam Maher: The real Qandeel?

Sanam Maher: The real Qandeel?

Qandeel Baloch was the social-media siren who teased and titillated Pakistani society with her pouty posts and racy videos, empowering young women and outraging religious elders at every turn. Her highlights reel is well known: the failed audition on Pakistan Idol – all shrill voice, shocking pink leggings and fake tears; the stunt marriage proposal...
All through the night

All through the night

H.M. Naqvi’s The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack draws a portrait of modern Karachi via the crumbling body and soul of a 70-year-old man who is pondering the city’s past from the viewpoint of a dilapidated family estate. His wistful daydreams of jazz clubs, cabarets, Sufi festivals and visiting Soviet officials are broken when...
Fatima Bhutto: Lost hearts and souls

Fatima Bhutto: Lost hearts and souls

Fatima Bhutto’s second novel The Runaways is a provocative, astute and ever-timely exploration of what makes three young people in Pakistan and England reject the society that raised them and sign up to the war against the West. Anita, growing up in a sprawling Karachi slum, aims to better herself with book learning but finds...
Wedding plans

Wedding plans

Mrs Binat’s ambitions for her daughters were fairly typical: groom them into marriageable material and wed them off to no less than princes and presidents. Before their fall, her husband had always assured her that, no matter what a mess Alys or any of the girls became, they would fare well because they were Binat...
Pride, prejudice and parathas

Pride, prejudice and parathas

When I was fourteen years old, my Aunt Helen gave me my first Jane Austen novel, a beautiful red and gold hardback of Pride and Prejudice. I remember climbing onto my bed one summer afternoon in Lahore, the heat tempered by the roar of the AC, and settling down with this new read. It is...
Mohsin Hamid: Moving on

Mohsin Hamid: Moving on

Mohsin Hamid’s latest novel Exit West imagines a world in which war refugees and economic migrants have the chance to break for safety by passing through supernatural black doors that serve as wormholes to wealthier countries. It’s a magical conceit that fast-forwards the likely exoduses of the coming decades, and intensifies the human dramas of...
Lifting the lid

Lifting the lid

Sophia Khan’s debut novel Dear Yasmeen is the story of Irenie, a young girl in upstate New York whose charismatic mother disappeared five years ago, and her distant, eccentric father James, who refuses to open up about the past. As Irenie digs around for details of her mother’s life, she uncovers love letters written between...
This scatter must be gathered

This scatter must be gathered

On the night of 8 June 2014, a pack of ten terrorists raided Karachi airport. They were well trained and equipped with an arsenal of grenades, suicide vests, a rocket launcher and automatic weapons. They broke through the airport security guised as security personnel. As the attack unfolded, I sat in disbelief in front of...
Fatima Bhutto borders on empathy

Fatima Bhutto borders on empathy

Fatima Bhutto’s mesmerising and impassioned debut novel The Shadow of the Crescent Moon focuses on the impossible but urgent choices facing five young people living in the tribal areas on the Pakistan border with Afghanistan, where communities are under constant threat from brutal Taliban foot soldiers and American drone strikes – and the vagaries of...
Scents, sights and sounds of South Asia

Scents, sights and sounds of South Asia

My first journey outside Europe and America took me to South Asia. I was 19 when I arrived in Karachi. It was three in the morning and I didn’t know a soul in the city. Outside the terminal, a crowd of rapacious taxi-wallahs swooped, grabbing at my bag, trying to pull me in different directions...