Mohsin Hamid — The reluctant novelist

Asad Rahim Khan in Herald:

ScreenHunter_1428 Oct. 15 17.52As far as debuts went, there was nothing quite like it. A 250-page novel, with a three-sentence premise: “Darashikoh Shezad is an ex-banker, pot-smoker, and downwardly mobile heroin addict who also happens to have fallen for his best friend’s wife. He is on trial. You are to be his judge.”

In a land of 140 million people, with less than 14 novelists of note between them – both in English and Urdu – Pakistan was unprepared for Moth Smoke in 2000; a decline-and-fall story with everything else in between: heat and hash, nuclear bombs and car chases, kite fights and wars of succession among Mughal princes.

In a way, the 29-year-old Mohsin Hamid could be compared to the 21-year-old Bret Easton Ellis, the boy wonder who blew the lid off the Reagan years with Less Than Zero. Like Hamid’s, Ellis’s maiden novel is a tale of beautiful young drug dealers that ends in tears. Unlike Hamid, Ellis could not write to save his life.

More here.