H.M. Naqvi: My Covid Year in Reading

H.M. Naqvi in Literary Hub:

I was in Australia on the tail-end of my eastern book tour, the Last Book Tour perhaps, one that had taken me to Indonesia and Bangladesh earlier, when the plague, after circling for months, dove in for the kill. I left perhaps a week before Australia locked down and have wondered what would have happened if I got stuck Down Under, a world unfamiliar in ways I did not expect. During the tour, however, I spent time on the periphery of stages and outside hotel lobbies, smoking, chatting with local literary rock stars, the likes of Tara June Winch and Christos Tskiolkas. On the plane back home to Karachi, I began Christos’s The Slap,  and what a fun ride it was. Christos takes the reader into the minds of  very human, rounded, middle-class characters whose lives are upended by an occurrence at a family barbecue in suburban Melbourne. The Slap also helps make an unfamiliar world more familiar.

Although Covid, for reasons that remain epidemiologically opaque, did not strike Pakistan with the same violence with which it ravaged the region—China, Iran, and now India—I burrowed underground, deep underground upon my return. I don’t want to die before I’m done with my next novel.

More here.