Monday, September 18, 2023

Moth Smoke - Mohsin Hamid

I had already read and reviewed another book by Mohsin Hamid: “The reluctant fundamentalist”. That was a pleasant surprise, as I had never heard of this author before. “Moth smoke” confirmed my first impression. Hamid's stories always feature some young, well educated, smart Pakistani who migrated to the USA or is friend with someone who went there. I suspect that this is an autobiographical touch.

The book starts when the main character - already a slightly depressed, heavy cannabis user - gets fired from his bank job for having had an ugly argument with an important, yet arrogant customer. About the same time his old best friend comes back from the US, accompanied by his charming wife and young son. From that moment on for our hero things get from bad to worse. He falls in love with his friend’s wife, upgrades from cannabis to heroin, is unsuccessful at finding a new job, gets broke as a consequence and finally becomes a criminal. At that point a tragic finale is unavoidable. But it will come with an unexpected twist.

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