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Home Boy (2009)

by H.M. Naqvi(Favorite Author)
3.38 of 5 Votes: 2
0307409104 (ISBN13: 9780307409102)
review 1: From what the title says, I didn't initially know how the story would unfold itself. With Homeboy being the debut novel of H.M. Naqvi, Naqvi has really positioned himself as a writer who knows how to play with words. (Or may be this comes in handy for the slam poets.) I liked how he went a step ahead by incorporating some historical facts about Karachi and about general things of the world in this novel. Not only was this novel well researched in one aspect, Naqvi also constantly made references to the pettiest of things you would find in your surroundings. Any one who is a Pakistani Muslim and has been to New York will be able to easily and earnestly relate to every word of this novel. I, myself, am fond of New York and deep down inside, I know the city I grew up in and a... morem living in, Karachi, is a lot similar to the Big Apple. In this aspect, I liked how Naqvi in one of the last few pages made the protagonist Shahzad say to Amo, his lover, that she should come visit Karachi to see him, for Karachi is so much like New York. Except for some problematic transitions from one event to another, I think this is one of the great, contemporary fiction novels by a Pakistani writer I have read in quite some time.
review 2: Like a Pakistani Junot Diaz, H.M. Naqvi's HOME BOY bursts with poetry, philosophy, politics, history, culture, Urdu, Spanish, profanity, and endless rivers of nihari. It is ultimately the deeply personal journey of a band of brothers (or should I say Others?) who feel every bit "American" or "New Yorker" yet are suddenly confronted by the social and political backlash of post-9/11 prejudice. By painting a complex and deeply human portrait of Muslims in America who fail to "fit" the post-9/11 image in almost every way, Naqvi's emotionally and lyrically powerful novel toys skillfully with satire as the Pakistani protagonists, their government kidnappers/torturers, and society at large scratch their heads at the disparity between reality and stereotype. Naqvi may lack the distinct combination of nerd, spark, and natural cool which makes Diaz's stories crackle, and he may depict a cliche picture of New York City as an urban salon for inebriated street philosophers, but he makes his point with humor, passion, and voice. I'm still waiting to read a successful American novel with a practicing Muslim protagonist (as if those can't be characters or don't exist or are only "bad guys"...), but that doesn't detract from HOME BOY's brilliance. I look forward eagerly to his next novel. less
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Good in flashes, but there was an underlying superficiality that bugged.
Engaging story. Very human, very real. Enjoyed it.
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