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A superb debut novel centred around the assassination of the Pakistani dictator General Zia.

There is an ancient saying that when lovers fall out, a plane goes down. This is the story of one such plane. Why did a Hercules C130, the world’s sturdiest plane, carrying Pakistan’s military dictator General Zia ul Haq, go down on 17 August, 1988? Was it because of:

1.Mechanical failure
2.Human error
3.The CIA’s impatience
4.A blind woman’s curse
5.Generals not happy with their pension plans
6.The mango season

Or could it be your narrator, Ali Shigri?

Teasing, provocative, and very, very funny, Mohammed Hanif’s debut novel takes one of the subcontinent’s enduring mysteries and out if it spins a tale as rich and colourful as a beggar’s dream.


Entertaining.... darkly comic.... There are sharply observed sketches of toadying ministers, mindlessly efficient security chiefs, filthy prison cells, sex-mad Arab sheikhs and erudite communist prisoners...as a piece of political satire, A Case of Exploding Mangoes deserves a high mark


Brassy, savvy, comic debut

New Statesman

Grimly, intelligently comic as if written by an Asian Joseph Heller

Daily Telegraph

Zesty, highly inventive...Hanif is a gifted writer...His explosive finale is brilliantly constructed

Daily Mail

Exuberant and satirical: this is an angry comedy about Zia's brutal legacy to Pakistan


If this rich stew of disparate ingredients puts you in mind of Salman Rushdie, you wouldn't be far from the truth. His work, along with that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Joseph Heller, is a low-key but persistent influence

Sunday Times

An exciting, accomplished new literary voice

Irish Times

a very funny satire-cum-thriller

Sally Cousins, Sunday Telegraph Seven

robust satire

James Stewart, The Guardian

Somewhere in mid-air between Waugh and Rushdie (with an shade of Catch 22 hovering near by) this tremendous novel makes a tragicomic weather all its own

Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

Justly Booker longlisted last year, this debut is a dazzling one-off

Hermione Eyre, The Observer

...both witty and likeable

Simon Baker, The Telegraph

Provocative and comic debut.

The Times

A true touch of originality ... showcases a promising new talent.

Colin Waters, Sunday Herald

Dry, droll and insightful

The Independent

A Pakistan not reducible to generals, jets and jihadisa...a debut novel shaped as much by the subcontinents fascination with history and historical figures as by political thrillers in the tradition of Forsyth and Le Carre.... Along the way there is plenty of humour and slapstick... Cadet life is entertainingly evoked, overflowing with japes, jerkoffs, hashish highs and liquored lows... The most unexpected aspect of Mangoes is also its most compelling - the wryly told story of a love affair between two cadets


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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    May 1, 2009


    304 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    December 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    304 pages

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