A Book by Mohammed Hanif

On August 17, 1988, Pak One, the airplane carrying Pakistani dictator General Zia and several top generals, crashed, killing all on board--and despite continued investigation, a smoking gun--mechanical or conspiratorial--has yet to be found. Mohammed Hanif's outrageous debut novel, A Case of Exploding Mangoes, tracks at least two (and as many as a half-dozen) assassination vectors to their convergence in the plane crash, incorporating elements as diverse as venom-tipped sabers, poison gas, the curses of a scorned First Lady, and a crow impaired by an overindulgence of ripe mangoes. The book has been aptly compared to Catch-22 for its hilarious (though not quite as madcap) skewering of the Pakistani military and intelligence infrastructure, but it also can trace its lineage to Don DeLillo, doing for Pakistan what Libra did for JFK conspiracy theory, and Kafka's The Trial, with its paranoid-but-true take on pathological bureaucracy. And when a mysterious bearded man called "OBL" makes an appearance at a Fourth of July party for U.S. military brass, we're coolly reminded of the fickleness of opportunistic policy in unpredictable lands.



Tags: Non fiction, Book, Mohammed Hanif