The Shadow of the Crescent Moon

      Fatima Bhutto

The Shadow of the Crescent Moon

Long-listed for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, a lyrical novel set over the course of one morning in a small town in Pakistan

Fatima Bhutto's stunning debut novel chronicles the lives of five young people trying to live and love in a world on fire. Set during the American invasion of Afghanistan, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon begins and ends one rain-swept Friday morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan's Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border.

Three brothers meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, Aman Erum, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. Sikandar, a doctor, drives to the hospital where he works, but must first stop to collect his troubled wife, who has not joined the family that morning. No one knows where Mina goes these days. Sikandar is exhausted by Mina's instability and by the pall of grief that has enveloped his family. But when, later in the morning, the two are taken hostage by members...
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    Songs of Blood and Sword

      Fatima Bhutto

Songs of Blood and Sword

In September 1996, fourteen-year-old Fatima Bhutto hid in a windowless dressing room, shielding her baby brother, while shots rang out in the dark outside the family home in Karachi. This was the night her father Murtaza was murdered. It was the latest in a long line of tragedies for one of the world’s best-known political dynasties.

Songs of Blood and Sword tells the story of a family of feudal landlords who became powerbrokers. It is an epic tale of intrigue, the making of modern Pakistan, and ultimately, tragedy. A searing testament to a troubled land, Songs of Blood and Sword reveals a daughter’s love for her father and her search to uncover the truth of his life and death.

From Booklist

The tense first chapter of this moving memoir ends with the announcement, “Your father’s been shot.” Fatima was 14 in 1996 when her beloved father, Mir Murtazi Bhutto, was murdered by police in Karachi. Her grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, was executed in 1979. One aunt was murdered in 1985, and another aunt, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated in 2007. Was Benazir involved in the murder of Fatima’s father? With the account of her dynastic family and their bloody battles, Bhutto weaves in the politics of Pakistan and its foreign relations, including those with the U.S., the Middle East, and China. Exposing the corruption of the present leadership and the military, she is passionate about how fundamentalist religion is used to thwart democracy. Was her grandfather removed for attempting to bring in some semblance of democracy? Can a dynasty introduce democracy? With the current arguments about the role of the U.S. in Afghanistan and in nuclear-armed Pakistan, this fierce insider’s view will have a wide readership, both angry and sympathetic. --Hazel Rochman

Review

William Dalrymple, *Financial Times
*“Moving, witty . . . a uniquely fascinating, wonderfully well-constructed memoir.”

Sir Bob Geldof

“The Bhuttos are an Asian Borgia or Plantagenet dynastic family. This then is an important and timely book offering a rare insight into the violent world of Pakistani politics told by a direct witness. It’s also the story of a daughter’s love for her murdered father and many other members of her family. Power not only corrupts—it kills.”           

The Independent

“A story with dazzling twists and turns told by a true-blue member of the Bhutto fold.”

Irish Times

“Political intrigue, administrative corruption and widespread avarice, refracted through a narrative of family history and sibling hostilities, make Songs of Blood and Sword read like a darker version of Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy.” 

Charles Glass, former ABC News Chief Middle East Correspondent, author of Tribes with Flags and* Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation.*

"Fatima Bhutto writes a compelling account that is both political and personal. Her life is proof that in Pakistan, torn apart by American diktat and local avarice, the political is the personal. Her passion and integrity ring out on every page. If you don't understand what is happening to Pakistan and Afghanistan, you soon will."

Roderick  Matthews, *The Guardian*

“In clear and unpretentious prose [Songs of Blood and Sword] gives a vivid impression of the brutal and corrupt world of Pakistani power politics, which has resulted in the violent deaths of four members of the Bhutto dynasty in the past thirty-one years.”

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