Duty Free: A Novel

Duty Free: A Novel - Moni Mohsin uty Free-Moni Mohsin

If the idea of a book styled along the line of “Gone With The Wind” or the movie “Clueless “but set in modern day Pakistan intrigues you, then this may be the book for you. We have a social-climbing ‘heroine’, shallow as the day is long but with a “heart of gold”, uninterested in the horrors abounding in her country but quite willing in her own selfish way to help her family. Especially when her family can create the havoc, she thinks her Aunt Pussy can create. Aunt Pussy has begged our heroine (no name was used in the book for our female protagonist and the book is written in diary form) to help her find her son a suitable mate, emphasis on the word “suitable”! Moreover, it must be done with all haste!

Therefore, that is exactly what our heroine sets out to do, in her own lazy, half-hearted, totally clueless way.

I’m sure the author is using malapropisms to make a point that I just didn’t ‘get’; but the usage became quite annoying after about a quarter of the way through the book. In addition, I would have loved to have some kind of translation of the words that Ms Mohsin used repeatedly. I was never quite sure if I was reading what amounted to a grunt or an actual word and I was being left clueless. It was a frustrating read for me.

The social-satire aspect is easy to pinpoint and yet I didn’t take it for being witty or clever, just sad. I know the customs and places for women in a society such as this are so different than what I’ve come to expect, yet I can’t help being sad when a woman who has the potential and the support of her husband and child to become so much more…doesn’t.

This book evoked many feelings from me and I am not so sure that they are the ones that the author wanted me to feel.