Moth Smoke, By Mohsin Hamid

Salutary thriller on sex, crime,and air-con

A re-issue of Moshin Hamid's first, prize-winning novel, this is a story of crime and passion set in modern-day Lahore – a divided city where the intellectual elite party, drink, take drugs, have affairs, and make money while the mass of ordinary people toil and sweat in poverty. The dividing line is whether one's house has air-conditioning.

Daru, a junior banker, is just on the edge of this elite. He starts an affair with the wife of his rich and successful childhood friend, just before he loses his job – and his air-conditioning. After that there's only one way to turn: to crime. In sharp, vivid prose, Hamid paints a portrait of deluded individuals and a fractured society, but this is also a tense thriller with a shock ending.

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