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The great story of the love-struck Daru Shehzad is beautifully penned down by a Pakistani, Lahore based writer Mohsin Hamid.  The fictional book, Moth Smoke is the first and the foremost novel of the debut author and has been entitled for the Notable Book of the year in New York Times.  The book is published in the year 2000 and translated in many languages. The author prominently reached the pinnacle of success soon, as he was recognised as an extraordinary literate for the well written and cleverly imagined novel, Moth Smoke.

Moth smoke is set in the period of Pakistan and India’s Nuclear Testing, in the sweltering summer of 1998, Lahore. The novel unfolds the tale of how an intellectual, intelligent and well-educated Darashikoh mainly known as Daru Shehzad, turn into a low life drug addict.Then, Mohsin Hamid takes the reader on a roller coaster ride with an array of perspectives providing each character’s importance in the novel at different events.

Daru Shehzad is a banker until he loses his job and is wrecked by desperation for food, stability and love of the vibrant Mumtaz.. His intolerant behaviour towards others results in losing his job and in the process of devastation Daru falls in love with his American return childhood friend, Ozi’s wife, Mumtaz. Daru’s obsession for Mumtaz ruins his relationship with Ozi and destroys the family he has with a wife and a toddler son, Muazzam. Mumtaz, who is a secret investigative journalist and writes under the name of Zulfiqar Manto, develops an affair with Daru when she takes him along to Heera Mandi, to cover a story. The trio rolls through many parties of the jaded elite. The social downfall Daru faces after losing his job takes Ozi away from their friendship as Ozi belongs to the elite class, and now Daru had even lost his foot in that society.

Daru faces a lot of challenges in this novel as he struggles to maintain or regain his lost status.Then he tries heroin, provided by Murad Badshah, the rickshaw driver and socio-economically victimised similar to the protagonist, which lead to Mumtaz and Daru’s breakup. Then Daru is further dragged into hunger and frustration, the plot arrives when Daru is wrongly framed for a murder of a boy in the street while Ozi had run his pajero over him. And because Ozi is rich and belongs to the elite, he deliberately flips the court case to Daru in order to take vengeance for the affair he and Mumtaz had. And in the end, Daru is convicted for the sin he had not done.

The name of the novel, Moth Smoke, is an allegory of the love Daru and Mumtaz shared. It refers to the concept of self-destruction and fatal fascination of the moth when it circles the candle and dies out. No book is without flaws, thus Moth Smoke also has its imperfections. I think, the various set of voices Mohsin Hamid has used is unnecessary as they are not stupendously drafted as Daru’s heart-breaking voice. This somewhat confuses the reader and there are loopholes left in the book.Furthermore, the characters were not very strong. Daru was a low life, depressed, desperate addict, his character could have had more traits. It was indeed a negative role. Mumtaz’s secretive life added on the melodrama.

All in all, I believe, Mohsin Hamid’s first effort marked its place in the shelves of great books. He is widely famous for his novel, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” published in 2007. 

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