Tag Archives: Book Review

Book Review: Moth Smoke (2000)

Mohsin Hamid

Let me be frank and perfectly honest that I am not a novel reader. But I began reading novels since Mira Nair revealed her intentions to make a movie on a novel written by a Pakistani writer. When I read the title of the book, it blew my mind. When I read its synopsis, it crew my find. My first novel-reading was Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. And I realized it was a perfect choice to begin novel-reading.

Now I have read the second novel, also written by the same author, with the impression that the writing will again be cardinal. Moth Smoke was Mohsin Hamid’s first book and was published back in 2000. The amazing feature of the writing truly is the expression of words one can sing the reality and stink the brutality. He will mesmerize you with the way he reviews nature, the lifestyle of Lahore, and the beauty of femininity. The way things began flowing from a smashing scene to a melo-rhythmic scene is very dramatic and hectic.

Set in the late 90s of Lahore during the times of Indo-Pak nuclear tests, a drug-addicted guy loses his job and enters into a love affair with his best friend’s wife. Life is screwed up, financially he is getting low, starving from his job, and getting more hungry for sex. It is a tremendous attempt of explaining human psychology and the way when things go wrong and misery propels you to commit wrong.

The best part is the impression you get from the writer being his first manuscript, how nurtured his pen grows to talk his story. The vocabulary of words and picking the lines to dramatize the scene and bring his nostalgia at any moment is very lively, choosy, and natural.

Creativity is astounding as the core characters are Mughal-era-tically named. Then the explanation of each character is beyond reality. Things work at ease for Mohsin, as the 245-pages book is an easy read and comprehensive divided into 17 chapters. Tumultuous applause for the writer!!

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Book Review: The Laundrymen (1995)

I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay – Ain’t it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me – That’s too bad
In my dreams I have a plan
If I got me a wealthy man
I wouldn’t have to work at all, I’d fool around and have a ball…

Money, money, money.. Must be funny
In the rich man’s world
Money, money, money.. Always sunny
In the rich man’s world
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It’s a rich man’s world

Yes Yes you were so true in your wisdom Frida!! Money is indeed so funny in a rich man’s world. Whereas for the poor, it is a gateway to coronate all evils as Mark Twain once said:

‘The lack of money is the root of all evil’

Anyway, it took me almost 11 non-serious months to seriously squander my thrustful desire of reading a thought-provoking book “The Laundrymen“. It is written by international bestselling American author, Jeffery Robinson, who famously wrote an acclaimed biography of former Saudi Oil Minister, Ahmed Zaki Yamani

Written in 1995, the 16-chapters and 300-pages book is the inside story of the dirty world of money laundering. It reveals many a secret and undresses various politicians, lawyers, bankers, bureaucrats, and tycoons who chessed the money transaction and accoladed their efforts. Robinson also pens how the underworld under-whirls the money and hides the true nature of money.


The book starts with the Watergate scandal and ends with Agha Hasan Abedi‘s BCCI. Between the two unfairy tales lie many controversial moments when money was washed and business was done peculiarly. There are Borodianskys, there are Shakarchis, there are Schaffers. The games were played in the 20th century and laws were made/changed by the peacekeepers. The book also deals with the bloodiest of drug trafficking organized ravishingly in South America, especially in Colombia. So when I say black money of Colombia, then expect the stories of crime daddies like Pablo Escobar and the Orejuelas.

The book is too good in sketching Swiss Secrecy Laws and the nexus of Swiss accounts to criminology. A few historic scandals like the Iran-Contra affair in Ronald Reagan‘s era and the de-functioning of Roberto Calvi‘s Banco Ambrosiano are worth reading.

Robinson wrote it in 1995 but the truth is that history has no age or period. This remarkable masterpiece insists on the fate of illness to prolong a vanquished desire for money-making. The blood circulation of dirty money will abide you to gimmick the filth under a subtle way whereas the trojan game of “Catch Me If You Can” will limit to those who will graduate as ‘Laundryman’.

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