Five years after I returned home from Karachi I wrote a novel that was set there. Maybe it takes that long for experiences to be absorbed and reassembled into fiction. I loosely based one of the characters on myself, an English woman who rebels against the ex-pat community in Pakistan and lands in trouble. This novel, however, has a large ensemble cast consisting of Pakistanis, Brits, Americans. And a holy man. I wanted to explore the culture clash between Islam and the West, run with it and have some fun with it, and drew on my memories of living there.
East is East and West is West…
Fresh from London, Christine and Donald Manley have come to the alien swelter of Karachi: Christine to conceive a child, Donald to sell the Pill for a pharmaceutical company. Among the ex-pats already there is straight-talking Duke Hanson, whose all-American values cannot prevent him falling, then sinking, helplessly in love with a sophisticated Pakistani girl. In the ensuing tangle of Anglo-American-Oriental relations, the strangest things for those who have come out East are revealed in the very people with whom they arrived…
“Wincingly funny…a tragi-comedy of manners and errors….Ms Moggach has lived there, and it shows. She’s sound on the heat, squalor and frustrations, the feel and pulse of a place where Europeans can’t really go native sinced so many natives have half-taken to European ways. It’s an ambitious book showing Asia through British and American eyes; compassionate, yet never sloppy, it notes the flaws and frailties of East and West without mockery.”
“Remarkably good: original, perceptive and very entertaining.”
“Entertaining, subtle and intelligent.”