From Kamila Shamsie to Salman Rushdie, and some names still unfamiliar to English readers, here is some of the best fiction about a nation set to turn 70 this year
A while ago I emailed a Pakistani news editor, introducing myself and pitching a column. He replied promptly saying that while we hadn’t met, he was well acquainted with my work. In fact, when his Australian girlfriend had asked him to recommend a book to help her understand Pakistani society better, he’d handed her my comic satire, The Diary of a Social Butterfly. The relationship, he wrote, had ended soon after. He neglected to mention whether he deemed my book culpable but, for the record, he did not offer me that column.
I had better luck with my Indian editor. Travelling with her American boyfriend, she gave him my second novel Duty Free as a useful guide to the lives and loves of desi society. He spent a good part of the holiday, she recounted, reading my novel and chuckling to himself. They are now happily married. I cannot claim that my book played a decisive role in sealing that relationship but let me just say I was invited to their wedding.
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