The Shadow of the Crescent Moon,’ by Fatima Bhutto

Lorraine Adams in The New York Times:

FatimaFatima Bhutto’s first novel, about one tense morning in the life of three Pakistani brothers and two of the women they love, is set in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan. This land is also home to a three-dimensional chessboard of seemingly endless war — American drones killing the Taliban; Sunni Muslims bombing Shia Muslims; and an underground, generations-old fight for independence from the central government.

It’s important to note that Bhutto isn’t your average debut novelist. She’s the granddaughter of the former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged in 1979 on murder charges by Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, the military despot who was the architect of Pakistan’s shift toward fundamentalist Islam. She’s the niece of the assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who she believes is “morally responsible” for the 1996 murder of her father, Mir Murtaza Bhutto, the partner with his brother, Shahnawaz, in an armed movement to overthrow General Zia. (Shahnawaz was found dead in a Cannes hotel room in 1985; an autopsy revealed that he had been poisoned.) This Borgia-like family history was detailed in Bhutto’s 2010 memoir, “Songs of Blood and Sword.” It’s no wonder she has consistently denied any interest in going into politics. Still, at age 32, Bhutto is more of a celebrity than most first-time fiction writers. Born in Kabul, raised in Damascus, educated in New York and London, she now lives in Karachi. She has over 850,000 followers on Twitter, where her page begins with a quote from Vladimir Nabokov that reads, “My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.”

Her novel addresses all of the above, and serves as a showcase for their far-reaching consequences.

More here.