The Shadow of the Crescent Moon follows the movements of three brothers, Aman Erum, Hayat and Sikander on a rainy Friday in the small and remote village of Mir Ali, in northern Pakistan. Aman Erum, the oldest brother, has recently returned from America and is on his way to the mosque. While he travels by taxi to his destination, we learn through a series of flashbacks his dream of travelling to America and the sacrifices and transgressions he has made in order for his dream to come true.
Hayat, the middle brother leaves on his motorcycle. He can’t imagine living anywhere else than Mir Ali and fights for his home, his village and country, with a group of like minded young men and women. This ragtag group of fighters is lead by a mysterious young woman whose attack plans will soon plunge Mir Ali into a catastrophic tragedy.
Sikander, the youngest of the three brothers, is a doctor at the local hospital. On this particular morning he is on his way to work when he receives a call to get his wife Mina, who ever since a recent family tragedy, has been barely hanging on to her sanity. Told in a series of flashbacks, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon tells a story of the consequences of choices made and paths taken, and we soon learn that every choice the brothers have made, every decision they have taken has brought them to this fateful, tragic day.
Fatima Bhutto has written a novel of beautiful, lyrical, hypnotizing prose. The characters she has created in The Shadow of the Crescent Moon are captivating, strong willed and determined. I found the back story (American invasion of Afghanistan) well written and informative and gave a solid tie in with the characters. That being said, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I would have wanted to just because it was a little too involved in terms of politics for my liking and although the build up to the tragic events of the day was excellent, the end gave the impression of being unfinished with no real explanation of events, no closure.
Would I recommend this title? Sure, if nothing else but for the absolutely beautiful writing. Fatima Bhutto has a wonderful gift for creating with words and I look forward to reading her next book.
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group (The Penguin Press HC) for providing me with an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.