Moth Smoke. Home · Moth Smoke Vance, Jack - The Moon Moth · Read more · Heyer, Georgette - The Black Moth. Read more. Moth Smoke is the first novel by Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist 'You know you're in trouble when you can't meet a woman's eye, . Human Perversion and Environmental Space: An Ecocritical study of Mohsin Hamid's 93 Human Perversion and Environmental Space: An Ecocritical reading of.

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PDF | Hyperreality is an important aspect of postmodernism. This article covers Mohsin Hamid's work, Moth Smoke exhibits a world suffering. PDF | The present study is aimed at an investigation of how meanings 21 texts from Hamid's novel, Moth Smoke (MS) were selected as data. Moth Smoke book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. When Daru Shezad is fired from his banking job in Lahore, he begins a d.

It attempts to explain that poisonous unhealthy environment blots human reasoning and corrupts human emotions. The novel is set in Lahore — a city which is polluted by vehicle and air conditioning exhaust, heat, dust, and smoke. Studies show that the inhabitants of this city inhale air containing an average of suspended particulate matters which is 6. The novel sets a parallel between the polluted environment and polluted human psyches. Elite or working class, police or Government officials, drivers or bankers, old or young, men or women, all inhale polluted hot air, vehicle emissions, and smoke and exhale their polluted psyches in their social roles and responsibilities. In reality as the hovering images of heat dust, smoke and stench suggest it is the devastating effect of polluted environment.

There is not a born Pakistani on Earth who does not admire mangoes to a degree of infinity and there is not a more qualified bunch of mangoes that you'll find elsewhere in the world. Personally, I prefer Chaunsas myself. Moth Smoke was, at once, a brilliant as well as a disheartening read. It tells us the story of a man called Darashikoh mercifully shortened to Daru and the ultimate debilitation life leads him into.

It also tells us of his love, Mumtaz, and her husband, Aurangzeb, who happens to be Daru's best friend. Like most fictitious dramas, Moth Smoke was driven by its characters, much less the story. We begin with Daru and his position in the global community.

The setting is the city of Lahore, one of the "three bigs" of Pakistan, if you will--the other two being Islamabad and the infamous port city of Karachi.

I'm not going to elaborate on the story here, there's not much I can say either way. The novel is more of a monologue coming from Daru and explaining the tumult of feelings whirling inside him with every step he takes into a fate of destruction. While being quite the intrguing and smart character, he was by no means a likable one. I hated Daru from the begining till the end.

However, every act that the man performed was bound to a need that the reader slowly learns over the course of the book. Mumtaz was, perhaps, my most admired character by far.

This lady is everything a lady should be and should not be, simultaneously. I'm interested in things women do that aren't spoken about. Mumtaz's history was disconcerting and engaging to read. Many women will not be able to sympathize with her. She'd always been a victim of self-doubt; a self-proclaimed monster at every step. Deeming herself an unworthy mother and torn between her husband and his best friend, Mumtaz's conflicted mind leads her into a desperate state of ill psychology and self-destruction that she also unknowingly bestows upon her illicit lover.

Aurangzeb, while providing much support to the background of the previously mentioned characters, plays no pivotal role in the story. He's somewhat more normalized than the rest of the cast, however. The book often broke the fourth wall to directly address the readers, often switching views of the various major and minor characters, who give the narration a smoother flow by voicing their side of the story that's concerned with Daru.

We come to know the man more via the eyes of others than his own thoughts and, grudgingly, dispute over his moral values and their drastic development. However, Moth Smoke is subject to the more elite and the vile classes of the Pakistani society. It wavers between the two extremes and is a poor imitation of the realities in Pakistan and, perhaps, even in Lahore.

I would not recommend it to someone who's looking to pry deeper into the culture since this would be a complete misrepresentation of it. This is where it fails the most in my eyes. Perhaps the alcohol, drugs and all the sex was a bit exaggerated in my opinion, unless Lahoris, you all really aren't that sneaky of a bunch are you? Can't pull it off better than Karachi, though. The second group is much smaller, but its members exercise vastly greater control over their immediate environment and are collectively termed the elite.

The distinction between members of these two groups is made on the basis of control of an important resource: The book also does not refrain from tackling taboo subjects in detail and banishing the odd and awkward aura of the conservative society the rest of the world often falsely classifies the literate Pakistani folks into.

It's a purely adult fiction. Flecked with bites of local vocabulary and inside jokes, the novel is often a delight for the Pakistani readers. It's strong, its environment relatable and the virtual cruise through the named streets of Lahore makes the experience much more real than it actually is.

I could shoot the cap off a bottle of Pakola at twenty paces. While my heart just got distasteful at the end, the novel left a mark. It's also extremely well written and constantly reminded me of how much more exquisite and classy our literature can be when sat together with the contemporary, usually hemorrhage-inducing, western dramas.

Mohsin Hamid has become a star in my eyes and I can not wait to feast upon The Reluctant Fundamentalist soon. And with a last stardrop, a last circle, I arrive. And she's there, chemical wonder in her eyes. View all 15 comments. Oct 15, Bharath rated it it was ok.

This is the story of Daru, his friend Ozi and Ozi's wife Mumtaz. The story is not very engaging since the motivation of the characters, what they want in life and the rationale for their actions is unclear. The book does well to change the narrative among various characters providing a view for each person's thoughts.

In spite of that, the thoughts seldom run deep enough. The story would have been better with more This is the story of Daru, his friend Ozi and Ozi's wife Mumtaz.

The story would have been better with more positivity, richer episodes and a better story line. There is little reason to appreciate the rapid downward spiral of the characters lives. On the other hand it is probably a good first book So giving this book 3 stars is kind of unfair because technically it lies on either 5 stars or 1 star. I hated each and every character in this books, i hated their guts, i hated the hypocrisy and i hated their attitudes, their ignorance their infatuations and mostly their selfishness.

Which is something because there are not many writers who develop the characters well enough to be judges and criticized. Every character in this book was alive, i had a mental image of them, they were real talking So giving this book 3 stars is kind of unfair because technically it lies on either 5 stars or 1 star. Every character in this book was alive, i had a mental image of them, they were real talking and bullshitting. This book picks up the most corrupt part of the society the lowest the most twisted and immature set of mentality who unfortunately have the money and resources to influence.

The book could be said to be about a man, who wants more then he has, he ungrateful for what he has, and is not ready to embrace the sharp reality of his existence instead figures a short a way out, drugs, woman he should not be with and company he can not afford. He is middle class but has had a taste of elite life style but somehow never gets over the fact that he is not one of them. He wants all that he does not have and like most thinks he is most worthy of it, just because he is smart and has a delusion that he is better person.

This is story of people who are ripping this country part because they think it is free buffet and everyone should get a share when it is being served bigger the better. Its is story of degradation and decline, of sin and survival and selfishness and sabotage. It is story of disintegrating society.

View all 9 comments. May 24, Anusha Jayaram rated it it was amazing Shelves: It's only now, after my third reading of the book, that I'm even attempting to put down my thoughts on it. No, not because it's abstract or painful reading. But because there were so many, many things in the book that I found beautiful, poetic, tragic, so real that I could reach out and touch it; I was overwhelmed. Even now, I doubt I'd be able to do justice to how much I am in awe of Mohsin Hamid for crafting this masterpiece.

But I must start somewhere, for my own record, so I remember just wh It's only now, after my third reading of the book, that I'm even attempting to put down my thoughts on it.

But I must start somewhere, for my own record, so I remember just why I fell so in love with this book. The scope of this book is tremendous - it ranges from intense emotions at the personal level, to the choices and consequences of an empire fragmented. It weaves these two themes together very deftly. You hardly notice it happening, but the backdrop of the social setting emerges in all its detail through the personal narrative. Throughout the book, I kept marvelling at the familiarity of the thought processes and cultural constructs I encountered.

Which was surprising only because, I had no idea there could be so many commonalities in the Indian and Pakistani ways of life very region specific, of course, but still.

As the back cover puts it, quite neatly, this book is the story of Daru's decline. Darashikoh Shezad carries a lot of baggage - anguish at his mother's shocking, untimely and avoidable death, unsettling undercurrents in his superficially peaceful growing years, his resentment at the double standards in society: Daru loses his job at the worst possible time to do so, when the economy is crumbling and jobs are virtually impossible to come by.

His childhood friend, Aurangzeb - Ozi, to his friends - has just returned from New York with his wife and child. Ozi comes from a rich and powerful family, with a retired civil servant for a father. Things spiral out of control, starting with Daru falling for Ozi's wife, Mumtaz. Daru's slow but sure decline is effortlessly detailed.

You see through his eyes, experience his beautiful drug-induced descriptions. Apart from these druggy, poetic passages, the language is crisp, for the most part, but that doesn't take away from the beauty of it. Most of the narrative is in the voice of Daru. And his voice becomes quickly familiar to the reader. Each character has a unique voice.

Murad Badshah's painstaking manner of speech has the unmistakable flavour of the lilting, polite Urdu.

Then there is Mumtaz, clear sighted and courageous. Willing to state things as they are. I was intrigued at her emotion or lack of it for her child. Intrigued at the fact that Hamid had given her this facet too, one of the several reasons I love this book. It explores the ideas of maternity society thrusts upon women, unconsciously, making some like Mumtaz feel like social misfits when they find they do not conform.

But finally, she makes her peace with herself. I was blown away by the way her personality was sketched, by how uncannily I was able to relate to her, empathise with her.

But you still know Daru was not lying about Ozi running the boy over. Never ever once does Ozi mention it himself, skillful manipulator that he is. Nothing is overstated or blatant. How he resents bitterly the way his rich acquaintances treat him, while he looks down on certain others himself.

This hypocrisy is evident in his mistreatment of his servant Manucci, and in his condescending attitude towards Murad. The title, Moth Smoke, seems odd at first, but soon becomes familiar when viewed in context of the standard Shamma-Parvana references in oh-so-many songs.

The moths appear again and again through the book, coloured from different perspectives, exactly like a theme song's recurring refrain. The composition is intricate, brilliantly thought through, misdirecting the reader more than twice, packing in that added dose of suspense into an already heady mix of drugs, crime, adultery, and so much more. When the story begins, you don't have any idea what Daru's crime is. Slowly, you begin to think he's killed someone, or is at least being accused wrongly or correctly of killing a boy.

Moth Smoke

Somewhere in the middle, Daru, high on heroin, theorises that Muazzam - Mumtaz's son - is the reason for all of his misery. He even follows Muazzam's car, revolver in lap, and you feel certain this is the crime he is being accused of.

Only to be surprised when he doesn't kill the child. Then, the burglary plot unfolds. Now, you're sure Daru has killed the little boy at the boutique that he and Murad are raiding.

You're convinced even after that episode concludes, that this is what has happened. It's only towards the end, that you realise what has actually happened. That Daru has been accused of killing the boy that Ozi killed, ran over in his Pajero. And then it hits you.

Ozi's revenge.

His way of exacting vengeance for Daru's affair with Mumtaz, of which he'd known for some time then. And your mind is in a whirl. You're left open-mouthed at this revelation, devastating as it is. You've only heard of poetic justice being meted out in books and movies. You can only shake your head in awe, for how beautifully and thoroughly your mind has been manipulated by Hamid. And then, while you re-read it, more carefully this time, you find that there was only a gunshot.

It never connected with any person, only resulted in a shattering of glass.

Aurangzeb, the emperor, Shuja, who is not Shuja courageous , Murad, who does not fulfill his Murad destiny , and Dara, the fallen prince. All siblings. All sons of Shah Jahan. Your mind wanders back to snippets of history you've read somewhere. You remember reading about the speedy trial Aurangzeb the original rigged for his brother, Darashikoh, and how he got Dara condemned to death, having declared him a heretic.

The epilogue is a commentary, in the same vein as the prologue, on the present social and political state of the country and subcontinent: To sum up, this book is right up there with my all-time-favourites.

View all 4 comments. I never came through such complex characters and unfortunately I found them real rather than just characters. If you know Lahore and its suburbs, you can actually relate to it very well, the existence of elite class, their immoralities, the working of drug suppliers, stories of red light areas so on and so forth. He created Mumataz actually, the outstanding character, she is the women of strength and the only person with the feeling of guilt which she tried to compensate till the end,in her own way, which I think is again a mistake.

Ozi turns out to be silent revenger and Daru- the ignorant, blamer and self piteous. The second favourite animal after moth in the story is Chipkali lizards. I laughed at how he defines it.

At some point it seems like he is describing some woman: View all 3 comments. Jul 15, Anum Shaharyar rated it liked it Shelves: That was a very long analogy for the slow, steady destruction of our main character Darashikoh in this story.

The reason Hamid used it is because this book reimagines the story of the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh our hero, or rather, anti-hero and his trial at the hands of his brother Aurangzeb Ozi in this story. Be that as it may, the Mughal connection is present but fleeting or maybe it's very very important and I need a two-hour lit class to recognize it. After losing his job because of his disdain for an obnoxious customer, Daro, an orphan who lives alone, finds that the lifestyle he has grown accustomed to is no longer possible on a life of no salary.

This lack in finances is made worse by the reappearance of Ozi from abroad, with a child and wife in tow. The wife, Mumtaz, also plays a huge part in the narrative as the sexy, disenchanted wife, uncomfortable in her marriage and unable to love her child. Her dissatisfaction with life, her inability to accept lack of love for her child, and the facades she wears makes her one of the two in the pair of most interesting characters in this novel.

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Unable to deal with the reality of his situation, Daro spends more and more on drugs like heroin. His uncomfortable alliance with rickshaw driver and small-time criminal Murad Badshah, the second in the pair of most interesting characters in this story, lead to more and more drug taking, and eventually to an actual employment as a drug dealer.

Like most of the characters in Moth Smoke, Murad Badshah is a largely dislikeable character, prone to violence and eager to incite Daro into crimes, but he was my favourite because he felt so real. What also works out well is that Hamid is writing what he seems to know.

His character Daro, middle class and surrounded by richer friends, comes across as unlikable but also authentic.

His contempt for and envy of the rich, between constantly trying and failing to fit into the elite circles that Ozi is so casually a part of, forms the connection between these two characters - not too visible on the page - that has the greatest role in the narrative.

This is a counterpoint to the harsher actions of other people, like Ozi, whose powerful Pajero knocks over a young boy on a bike, in a brutal hit-and-run. And while Daro, witness to the accident, is the one who picks the boy up and takes him to the hospital, he is unable to make Ozi feel repentant for this mistakes. Another thing to appreciate about this author is that he is unapologetic in his desi-ness. Just like a Pakistani knows what kind of a drink Pakola is or what owning a Suzuki says about your economic status, we all indulge in cultural currencies in our literature which roots you in places.

Pakistani authors not only define eid, they also explain the religious background and the festival itself in detail. But if we are going to consider possible candidates for Pakistani books being adapted for the silver screen, books by Hamid would definitely be on top of the list. Not the best thing ever, but not bad either. Review to come. It's been a while since I wrote one, so it'll probably be chunky and off-kilter.

Hm... Are You a Human?

Aug 05, Bloodorange rated it liked it Shelves: My response to this book was curiously all over the place, something I don't usually experience. Then three stars again. I liked some aspects of the ending, in particular a little scene when the protagonist is approached by a fundamentalist, which ends as follows bear in mind the action of the book is set in the summer of What a nice guy.

I hope he doesn't get himself killed trying to make things better for the rest of us. I guess there are all kinds of fundos these days. And they're obviously well organized if they even have a sales pitch for people like me. I can't say I entirely disagree with their complaints, either.

On the drawbacks: I've seen more original 'meteoric falls' among my colleagues and acquaintances, and mine is a rather sheltered life. I actually liked the book's unlikeable protagonist, but hated the feeling of being manipulated by the author at some point, readers are made to feel revulsion for Daru, and I dare you not to.

Plus all the earnestly heavy-handed symbolism - I thought this is something that is just not done anymore. View all 5 comments. Feb 04, Shalini rated it really liked it. Mohsin Hamid writes with credibility and a certain conviction that tears characters off the fabric of pakistan's social tapestry and paints instead a vivid etching in grey scales. The narrative forebodes the breakdown of the society's very weak fundamental values as would be the case in any upwardly mobile urban story.

Hamid is a subtle craftsman at work. His characters reveal the story of Daru the social outcast. Most significantly Mumtaz holds up the mirror to bring the two paralles in her life Mohsin Hamid writes with credibility and a certain conviction that tears characters off the fabric of pakistan's social tapestry and paints instead a vivid etching in grey scales. Most significantly Mumtaz holds up the mirror to bring the two paralles in her life ozi and Daru who seemingly meet at a point and then move away displaying the stark contrast and the deep chasm that separtes them as a person and as a part of the society's frameowrk.

Moth Smoke balances itself on a thin and delicate question that the subcontinent is facing right now. What is the identity of the urban youth-both men and women: What are their choices and where are they heading? Has it reached a tipping point? Look Inside Reading Guide. Reading Guide. Dec 04, Pages download.

Dec 04, Pages. Fast-paced and unexpected, Moth Smoke was ahead of its time in portraying a contemporary Pakistan far more vivid and complex than the exoticized images of South Asia then familiar to the West. Now its chair has been taken, and looks to be occupied for years to come, by the extraordinary new novelist Mohsin Hamid. Her name is Mumtez and she smokes pot and cigarettes and drinks straight Scotch. Read this book. Fall in love.

Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! This lady is everything a lady should be and should not be, simultaneously.

Moth Smoke - Wikipedia

I'm interested in things women do that aren't spoken about. Mumtaz's history was disconcerting and engaging to read. Many women will not be able to sympathize with her. She'd always been a victim of self-doubt; a self-proclaimed monster at every step. Deeming herself an unworthy mother and torn between her husband and his best friend, Mumtaz's conflicted mind leads her into a desperate state of ill psychology and self-destruction that she also unknowingly bestows upon her illicit lover.

Aurangzeb, while providing much support to the background of the previously mentioned characters, plays no pivotal role in the story. He's somewhat more normalized than the rest of the cast, however. The book often broke the fourth wall to directly address the readers, often switching views of the various major and minor characters, who give the narration a smoother flow by voicing their side of the story that's concerned with Daru.

We come to know the man more via the eyes of others than his own thoughts and, grudgingly, dispute over his moral values and their drastic development.

However, Moth Smoke is subject to the more elite and the vile classes of the Pakistani society. It wavers between the two extremes and is a poor imitation of the realities in Pakistan and, perhaps, even in Lahore. I would not recommend it to someone who's looking to pry deeper into the culture since this would be a complete misrepresentation of it.

This is where it fails the most in my eyes. Perhaps the alcohol, drugs and all the sex was a bit exaggerated in my opinion, unless Lahoris, you all really aren't that sneaky of a bunch are you? Can't pull it off better than Karachi, though.

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