Book Review: A Case of Exploding Mangoes

By the time it comes down to the questions about whether I would rescue my best friend's kitten drowning in a river or tell myself that cats can swim, I have begun to enjoy the test, and my pencil ticks the squares with the flourish of someone celebrating their own sanity.

Author:Mohammed Hanif
Publisher:Random House India
Date of Publication:2009
Number of Pages:Approx 400 with cover

Book Review: A Case of Exploding Mangoes

On a fateful day, 17 Aug 1988, General Zia Ul Haq, the then President of Pakistan had boarded a C130 – Pak One to fly back to Islamabad after inspecting a tank demonstration in Punjab. Several senior army generals along with American ambassador to Pakistan, Arnold Raphel had accompanied him on the flight. Shortly before takeoff, crates of mangoes were loaded onto the plane and shortly after takeoff, the C-130 had crashed killing all on board. This established truth is one of the many political mysteries in world History.

History, the broad concept that encompasses facts, figures and fictions has frequently exercised its influence in present day literature. We call this specific genre as Historical Fiction. Although Mohammed Hanif’s debut novel ‘A case of Exploding Mangoes’ is plotted around the premise of this unusual death of General Zia Ul Haq in the plane crash, an assumed political assassination, the book can not be strictly classified as a Historical Fiction. It is something beyond. Written primarily from the point of view of Junior Under Officer Ali Shigri, the protagonist, Hanif succeeds in creating a brilliant story where Ali Shigri, the fictional character was able to plot and execute the assassination as a revenge for his father’s death. The author creates intriguing living characters, ambitions and treacheries, trust and conspiracies. With elements of humor and thriller intermingled with historical facts and fictions, Mohammed Hanif’s debut novel is a genre of its own.

The prose is fluid. The plot is gripping, unique, and thoughtful. A good read. I had received the review copy from Random House India. Thank you Rukun, for giving me this opportunity. You can buy this book at amazon or at flipkart in case you live in India. You can also find the lowest price of this book in India at

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