A Case of Exploding Mangoes, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


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.

Winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Novel and shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2008.


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

An interesting little riff around the suspicious death of Pakistan president General Zia in an aeroplane accident in 1988 at Bahawalpur in the Punjab. The narrator is a young air-force officer, Ali Shigri, who indirectly blames Zia for the apparent suicide of his father. There are many conspiracy theories surrounding this event; but this book is definitely a satirical novel rather than a documentary. Not a bad little read but nothing extraordinary.

Review by

What exactly caused the aircraft carrying Pakistan's president Zia-ul-Haq, his top brass and the US ambassador to crash in 1988? Nobody knows. Maybe Mohammed Hanif is right, and this book unveils the mystery. Or maybe it's just a story. But it's a great story, a journey through the contradictions of a crumbling military dictatorship through the eyes of an impertinent young soldier, a fun and informative look at central Asia at the end of the Cold War, and an impeccable thriller that will not let itself be put down until the end.