Moth Smoke, Mohsin Hamid’s deftly conceived first novel, immediately marked him as an uncommonly gifted and ambitious young literary talent to watch when it was published in 2000. It tells the story of Daru Shezad, who, fired from his banking job in Lahore, begins a decline that plummets the length of Hamid’s sharply drawn, subversive tale.
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. It established Mohsin Hamid as an internationally important writer of substance and imagination and the premier Pakistani author of our time, a promise he has amply fulfilled with each successive book. This debut novel, meanwhile, remains as compelling and deeply relevant to the moment as when it appeared more than a decade ago.
“Stunning… [Hamid] has created a hip page-turner about [his] mysterious country.” –Los Angeles Times
“A brisk, absorbing novel… inventive… trenchant… Hamid steers us from start to finish with assurance and care.” –Jhumpa Lahiri, The New York Times Book Review
“Pakistan, seventh most populous country in the world, is one of the countries whose literature has been overlooked. Now its chair has been taken, and looks to be occupied for years to come, by the extraordinary new novelist Mohsin Hamid.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A subtly audacious work and prodigious descendant of hard-boiled lit and film noir… Moth Smoke is a steamy and often darkly amusing book about sex, drugs, and class warfare in postcolonial Asia.” –The Village Voice
“Fast-paced, intelligent.” –The New Yorker
“Friends, a love triangle, murder, criminal justice, hopelessness, humidity. It’s set in Lahore, there’s a beautiful woman. Her name is Mumtez and she smokes pot and cigarettes and drinks straight Scotch. Read this book. Fall in love.” –Publishers Weekly
“The most impressive of his gifts is the clearsightedness of his look at the power structure of a society that has shifted from the old feudalism, based on birth, to the new Pakistani feudalism based on wealth.” –The New York Review of Books
“Sharply observed… elegant and evocative… a substantial achievement.” –Financial Times
“Brilliant… As relevant now as it was upon first publication twelve years ago.” –The Millions