With unprecedented amounts of time away from work, the global community found itself moving towards reading in an attempt to distract themselves from pressures that the pandemic naturally brought on. This year, several Pakistani authors also made headlines, their work being readily consumed by captivated audiences.

Here is a list of Pakistani fiction that made it to the bestsellers lists of this year.

Exit West: A Novel

by Mohsin Hamid

Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West is based on a country at the edge of a civil war, where two young people, both poles apart, meet —Nadia a fiercely independent and passionate individual, and Saeed who is composed and gentle. The love affair between the two swiftly takes a turn as the unrest in their city seeps further in. Against a backdrop of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they are swayed towards doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. Soon, Nadia and Saeed find themselves without a choice and have to leave their homeland and old lives behind, as they find a door and step through.

Home Fire

by Kamila Shamsie

After the death of her mother, Isma spent years watching out for her younger siblings, but now she has accepted an invitation from a mentor in America that would have her step into a dream long put on halt. But the thought of her headstrong sister back in London along with the disappearance of her brother onto a quest to prove himself in the footsteps of the jihadist father he never knew, keeps her worrying. Soon Isma’s worst fears turn into reality as her brother finally resurfaces across the globe.

The Wandering Falcon

by Jamil Ahmad

The novel begins with a young couple who traveled to the middle of nowhere as refugees from the tribe and the cruel punishment that is slapped on them as transgressors of the boundaries of marriage and family. The protagonist, Tor Baz, their son, travels throughout region and across the sprawling towns and tents that comprise the homes of the tribal people as the “The Wandering Falcon” .
Painting the incredible world of love and cruelty, of hardship and survival, custom and compassion, Jamil beautifully depicts this awe inducing novel.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel

by Mohsin Hamid

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia delves into the riveting tale of a corporate tycoon and his history of being journey of an impoverished rural boy. Following a nameless hero, he builds an empire on the single most important resource of the grueling metropolis: water. However, as his path intertwines with a girl whose star rises along with his, forces mold their fates along as an intimacy unparalleled is created.

Burnt Shadows

by Kamila Shamsie

Hiroko Tanaka is twenty-one year old woman whose next step in life is to marry the man she loves, Konrad Weiss. However, her life takes a huge turn as the catastrophe left behind by the atomic bombing destroys everything she knew. To start a new life, two years later, Hiroko travels to Delhi where her life is intertwined with that of Konrad’s half sister, Elizabeth, and her husband, James Burton, along with their employee Sajjad Ashraf, from whom she begins to learn Urdu.

Maps for Lost Lovers

by Nadeem Aslam

If Gabriel García Márquez had chosen to write about Pakistani immigrants in England, he might have produced a novel as beautiful and devastating as Maps for Lost Lovers.

Two young lovers, Jugnu and Chanda have been labelled as outcasts from their families as they live together out of wedlock. But soon, like many other all across England, they disappear. Nadeem Aslam portrays the passionate, tragic and nerve-wrecking epic through the lens of Jugnu’s older brother, Shamas,, and his wife, Kaukab as they explore the mysterious cirucmstances of the disappearance.

The Shadow of the Crescent Moon

by Fatima Bhutto

Fatima Bhutto writes on a small town near the Afghan border ravaged by American drones killing the Taliban, sectarian bombings and an underground, generations-old fight for independence from the government.
Three brothers, each of whom adopt different ways of life from each other after the death of their father, meet for breakfast. No more than three hours later their lives are entrapped in devastating circumstances. With a world on fire, and filled with love, five young people are pushed to make terrible choices. And, as events unfold, one woman is found to be at the center of it all. 

Broken Verses: A Novel

by Kamila Shamsie

Fourteen years ago, famous Pakistani activist Samina Akram disappeared. Two years earlier, her lover, Pakistan’s greatest poet, was beaten to death by government thugs. Set in present-day Karachi, Aasmaani, the daughter of a famous Pakisani activist, who just went missing, uncovers a letter from her lover, Pakistan’s greatest poet who was killed by government rogues.

Single and with an unsteady job, one day working at Pakistan’s first independent TV station, Aasmani encoutners an old friend of her mothers who gives her the first letter -then many more changing the belief that she was abandoned as she was always left behind whenever her mother followed the Poet into exile. The journey dissects the intimate relationship between a mother and her daughter through a thrilling mystery.

A Case of Exploding Mangoes

by Mohammed Hanif

Based on the vengeance filled drive of a Pakistan Air Force pilot and Drill Commander, Ali Shigri, the target is none other than the ruler and dictator of Pakistan, General Zia ul-Haq. Ignoring the government calls of his father’s suspicious death as a suicide, Ali maps out a plan to set the ball rolling. The only problem is, the unexpectedly large number of people vying to assist Ali in his endeavor.

The former author has majored in Political Science and Media. She is a Film and History enthusiast who hopes to be a war reporter. Currently, she writes about socio-political issues. She can be reached at shayannaveed@thecorrespondent.pk


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