The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto

The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima BhuttoI was interested in reading The Shadow of the Crescent Moon even before it was made the Long List for the Bailey’s Prize simply because it is by Fatima Bhutto. The Bhutto family is to Pakistan what the Kennedy family is to the United States; a prime political family of privilege scarred by tragedy.

I loved the way in which The Shadow of the Crescent Moon was told. Over the course of a single morning, Bhutto relates the story of three brothers and the different paths they have taken, as well as the recent history of Waziristan‘s bid for separation/ Independence. The experiences of the three brothers show how fraught and complex the question of Waziristan really is. Squeezed in between Afghanistan and the rest of Pakistan, it is at the heart of much of the political turmoil in the region, while also involved in its own battles.

My one criticism about the novel, and the reason why I think it was not popular with wider audiences, is that it alludes to the the various factions in Waziristan and their relationships to Pakistan and Afghanistan without spelling it all out in an obvious way. I think many readers not familiar with the region may need a little more information to truly understand the import of what Bhutto is saying.

Who would like this  book? The Shadow of the Crescent Moon is a political novel that tells a cracking story. I really enjoyed the subtlety of its telling, but as I mentioned, that too may be a drawback. I really recommend it for people who are interested in the region and the politics that transcend national borders. It would also pair nicely with The Blind Man’s Garden (review).

I received a copy of this book for review consideration from the publisher via NetGalley. 


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