Friday, February 28, 2014

#BookReview : Karachi, You're Killing Me! by Saba Imtiaz

On the jacket:

Mohammed Hanif says: "Racey, pacey and laugh-out-loud funny. A Murree beer-soaked love letter to Karachi and journalism."  

Ayesha is a twenty-something reporter in one of the world's most dangerous cities. Her assignments range from showing up at bomb sites and picking her way through scattered body parts to interviewing her boss's niece, the couture-cupcake designer. In between dicing with death and absurdity, Ayesha despairs over ever meeting a nice guy, someone like her old friend Saad, whose shoulder she cries on after every romantic misadventure. Her choices seem limited to narcissistic, adrenaline-chasing reporters who'll do anything to get their next story - to the spoilt offspring of the Karachi elite who'll do anything to cure their boredom. Her more pressing problem, however, is how to straighten her hair during the chronic power outages.  Karachi, You're Killing Me! is Bridget Jones's Diary meets The Diary of a Social Butterfly - a comedy of manners in a city with none.


I picked up Karachi, You're Killing Me! by Saba Imtiaz purely because of it's cover, and then for the blurb. I have friends in Karachi and I realise how ironical the title of this book is in the current scenario. Guns and lipsticks make for a deadly combo, something like a daaku haseena, and this quipped my curiosity. And, I have loved everything I have read, by Pakistani authors.

Ayesha is a reporter who has a few assignments in hand. These assignments are of varied kinds - from fashion shows to mafia killings to political assignments. She lives with her father and a cat, and has a more or less chaotic life. Narrated in first person, Ayesha is trying to find a match for herself.

This story is about Pakistanis. You know, people from across the border? But yet again, the fact that we are the same people with similar ideologies, basic behaviours and pet peeves, on both sides of the border, can be clearly seen in this book. The characters are identifiable and very well defined. Young people who smoke, drink, fall in love, make-out, and do everything random we do in our lives. Makes one wonder about the real scene with alcohol prohibition in the country.

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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