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 of the Taliban, Mina will prove to be stronger than anyone could have imagined.
The youngest of the three leaves for town on a motorbike. An idealist, Hayat holds strong to his deathbed promise to their father—to free Mir Ali from oppressors. 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.
In this beautifully observed novel, individuals are pushed to make terrible choices. And as the events of this single morning unfold, one woman is at the center of it all.
Praise for The Shadow of the Crescent Moon
“Bhutto writes of an extraordinary place where beauty lives alongside brutality, with superb poise and a kind of defiant lyricism.” —The Times (UK)
“[The Shadow of the Crescent Moon] is… a human story, with love as well as ideology – Bhutto blends the two adroitly (and) writes with great poignancy, keeping the emotional pitch high.” —Financial Times