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By David on 11-24-13
Young and Rich in Lahore
Moth Smoke presented a lively but disturbing portrait of life among the wealthy and privileged in Pakistan. The novel includes a Great Gatsby-like love triangle between the narrator, his best friend and the best friend's wife. The narrator, who is smart and handsome but whose background is less privileged than that of his friends, finds himself in increasing trouble as he tries to exercise the prerogatives of the young and rich without the means or connections. And despite the narrator's strong moral sense, he has a devastating sense of entitlement that ends up creating havoc in his life.
The images of Lahore, with its disparities in wealth and its casual corruption, were informative. A favorite minor character was the narrator's young servant, who comes the closest to a moral center for the novel.
The narration was well done, and the story easily holds up through the end. One drawback: The beginning, with allusions to Pakistani myths and an imagined courtroom scene, is hard to follow in audio. It's the kind of book you have to get in hard copy just to check out what was going on at the beginning. But then, as the novel flows, it gets easier to follow. Overall, a worthwhile and entertaining read.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Jami on 04-25-13
Unique Book with an Interesting Title
I decided to read this book after having read the author's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which I absolutely loved. This is the author's debut book; while I also enjoyed this one, I did not like it as much as The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
I listened to this through Audible, and once again, the narration was outstanding.
I was confused at first as to what was happening, but once I learned who the characters were and figured out what was going on, I enjoyed the mystery; luckily, it didn't take too long to figure things out. We know at the outset that Daru is in prison, but not the reason why; we also do not know anything about him. The story is told through the perspectives of various characters, which I found to be enjoyable. The book details how Daru's decline occurred and what happens when he continues to be drawn to a certain course of action. Daru was not always likeable, which I saw had turned many readers off of the story. I did not find that to be the case, however. Sure, he was not always likeable, but I think that just added to the human element of the story and added legitimacy to his deteriorating circumstances.
As with The Reluctant Fundamentalist, I felt like I was learning about Pakistan and the Pakistani culture, which was very educational and informative. Pakistan is integral to the story line and this book could not have been written as effectively in any other setting.
The title drew my curiousity as I could not fathom how it related to the story. When the author describes the moth going in smaller, rotating circles around a flame and getting closer even though it knows its dangerous, I could see the similarities with Daru's situation. Like the moth, he was going in a downward spiral but was powerless to stop it, even though he know on some level it was destroying him.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful