A Case of Exploding Mangoes

Mohammed Hanif, Author . Knopf $24 (323p) ISBN 978-0-307-26807-5

Pakistan's ongoing political turmoil adds a piquant edge to this fact-based farce spun from the mysterious 1988 plane crash that killed General Zia, the dictator who toppled Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, father of recently assassinated Benazir Bhutto. Two parallel assassination plots converge in Hanif's darkly comic debut: Air Force Junior Under Officer Ali Shigri, sure that his renowned military father's alleged suicide was actually a murder, hopes to kill Zia, who he holds responsible. Meanwhile, disgruntled Zia underlings scheme to release poison gas into the ventilation system of the general's plane. Supporting characters include Bannon, a hash-smoking CIA officer posing as an American drill instructor; Obaid, Shigri's Rilke-reading, perfume-wearing barracks pal, whose friendship sometimes segues into sex; and, in a foreboding cameo, a “lanky man with a flowing beard,” identified as OBL, who is among the guests at a Felliniesque party at the American ambassador's residence. The Pakistan-born author served in his nation's air force for several years, which adds daffy verisimilitude to his depiction of military foibles that recalls the satirical wallop of Catch 22 , as well as some heft to the sagely absurd depiction of his homeland's history of political conspiracies and corruption. (May)

Reviewed on: 02/18/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Hardcover - 535 pages - 978-1-4104-0960-7
Hardcover - 323 pages - 978-0-385-66502-5
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-385-66503-2
Paperback - 323 pages - 978-0-307-38818-6
Paperback - 323 pages - 978-0-09-951674-3
Open Ebook - 978-0-307-37336-6
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4090-5904-2
Paperback - 297 pages - 978-0-224-08242-6
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