Fatima Bhutto’s stunning debut begins and ends one rain swept Friday morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border. 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.
Three brothers, who adopt the different ways of life from each other after their father’s death, meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, Aman Erum, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. The second, Sikandar, a doctor, goes to check in at his hospital. His troubled wife, does not join the family that morning. No one knows where Mina goes these days. And the youngest, the idealist, Hayat, leaves for town on a motorbike. Seated behind him is a beautiful, fragile girl, whose life and thoughts are overwhelmed by the war that has enveloped the place of her birth.
Three hours later their day will end in devastating circumstances.
The Shadow of the Crescent Moon chronicles the lives of five young people trying to live and love in a world on fire. Individuals are pushed to make terrible choices. And, as the events of this single morning unfold, one woman is at the centre of it all.
Penguin Books Ltd