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A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
In 1988, a C-130 airplane carrying Pakistan's dictator General Zia ul-Haq, several of his generals, and the American ambassador crashed soon after takeoff. A late addition to the manifest, a case of mangoes, was often suspected of aiding in the crash. In A Case of Exploding Mangoes, Mohammed Hanif takes a satirical approach to who might have been behind the assassination of General Zia. The novel is narrated by Ali Shigri, a Pakistan Air Force pilot who suspects that Zia had his father killed. He's constantly working on plans for revenge, bringing in and dropping conspirators and making changes as needed. It's a crazy cast of characters, each warped by the absurdities of their own personalities and events they think they can control, but they really don't understand. A Case of Exploding Mangoes has received mostly positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "A Case of Exploding Mangoes belongs in a tradition that includes Catch-22, but it also calls to mind the biting comedy of Philip Roth, the magical realism of Salman Rushdie and the feverish nightmares of Kafka. But trying to compare his work to his predecessors is like trying to compare apples to, well, mangoes, because Hanif has his own story to tell, one that defies expectations at every turn."