Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review : Tender Hooks

Title : Tender Hooks
Author : Moni Mohsin
Publisher : Random House
ISBN : 9788184001501

The protagonist of Moni Mohsin's witty social satire, belongs to the elite class of Pakistani society. Her world revolves around - social get togethers, kitty parties, expensive clothes and branded accessories and she finds it below her dignity to mingle with those who do not belong to the right bagground. In the initial few pages, the readers get acquainted with this interesting character and the small circle of people around her - her Oxford educated husband Janoo(also referred to as Oxen), her son Kulchoo, her mother, her aunt Pussy, her cousin Jonkers and a couple of her close friends. It so happens that she has been entrusted with a very important task of bride hunting for Jonkers. She has to do all it takes to find a classy wife for her cousin who should have good bagground, good looks and huge financial support.

Moni Mohsin seamlessly interweaves the state of the country with the proceedings in the central character's life. The heroine is portrayed as a wealthy spoilt lady and her character is intelligently amalgamated with the stark reality of social, economic and political chaos in Pakistan. Each chapter begins with a newspaper headline bringing to forefront the volatile state of affairs in the country. This is followed by the description of life of people belonging to privileged class which actually is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the life in general.

The author successfully brings out the coexistence of two contrasting worlds - one, where fundamentalist emotions run high, terrorist attacks happen so very often, uncertainty is writ large on the faces of common people, and the other, inhabited by liberal, stinking rich people who have all the resources in the world to splurge on expensive cars, grand weddings, multiple 'carrot' diamonds, 'tabahi dresses' and much more. And this has been interestingly done by witty, sarcastic and understated voice of the protagonist with her signature distorted English and here is just a small sample of the same :
But thanks God
Sewing his crops
I think so he is reading his facebook
I let buy gowns be buy gowns
Buttocks injections on the fourhead for agelessness

Though the protagonist comes across as a snooty, asinine and immoral character, yet the way she casually mouths comments on taliban, army, terrorists, smugglers, religious fundamentalism etc. shows deep understanding and perception of the author who wants to bring out the concerns of a citizen of Pakistan subtly, without rubbing anyone in the wrong way.
Moni Mohsin's earlier book - "The Diary of a Social Butterfly' was a laugh riot too which was in fact narration of events in Butterfly's life chronologically and with 'Tender Hooks' the author has brought Butterfly Khan back again supported by a storyline too.

Overall a very entertaining and humorous tale which keeps the interest of the readers alive till the very last page.  'Tender Hooks' offers a medley of flavours including Bollywood brand spices and khichdi English which are sure to tickle many funny bones. There are plenty of LOL moments throughout the narrative. 

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