Call me AL: The Hero’s Ha-ha Journey — by Sheheryar Sheikh
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Price: Rs. 399 INR(Paperback), Rs. 300 INR(Kindle Edition)
ISBN: 978– 9353571474
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2kTsIHx
Altamaash the entertainer misstepped on to history’s stage to become a politician and created a lifetime’s worth of chaos and destruction in Pakistan. Now exiled to a London mansion, abandoned even by sycophants, Al yearns to relive the glory days of his rise to power. But the old guard has passed, and the colonial hangover in his home country has almost disappeared. Democracy is taking root, and with it is coming a fragile stability to the Third World. In these times Al’s desire for doing his best — what’s worst for the rest of us — flows into two acts of massive evil: one double-murder that shakes his own complacent party back to full attention; and a countrywide riot — the biggest the world has ever witnessed. All this Al orchestrates while perched luxuriously in exile in the UK. Woe to the day when he returns to claim the bloodstained crown. But cometh the hour, cometh the man! Sheheryar B. Sheikh’s new novel is a ripping rollercoaster ride through shenanigans of subcontinental politics, and it will keep you riveted.
About the author:
Sheheryar B. Sheikh has an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, where he won Steve Tomasula’s La Vie de Boheme Award and a Nicholas Sparks Scholarship. His first novel, The Still Point of the Turning World (HarperCollins India, 2017), was nominated for the all-Pakistan Getz Pharma Prize.
My take on the book:
Altamaash referred as AL, is one of those who crossed border from Indian side to Pakistan during Partition and after spending his first few days in absolute despair, being treated badly in what he hoped was now his home, he decided to build his own kingdom for the sake of his fellow migrants. Thus AL turns into a savior for those who were being ill-treated till then in the newly formed country. However, the current times have changed as AL is living in exile in the UK away from his past glory. But that’s not the end, as AL yearns to go back to his home; what follows next is how he plans to bring back his glory days in homeland while being comfortable in exile.
The book is about a once notorious man now hiding from the limelight but is unable to forget his prime days. There is a charm to the narration and the humor is dark and engaging. While the book starts with the interview of AL by a journalist in UK, this incident is only the starting point of the action that follows next. Though the book has a slow start as the initial pages set the backdrop for what is about to come, once the story picks up, it is very entertaining.
The vocabulary might weigh down beginners at some places, but for readers looking for an enriching experience, it will be very fulfilling. Pick this one for the impressive narration and writing style, humor and the political satire it is.
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