Duty Free: A Novelby Moni Mohsin
Our plucky heroine's cousin, Jonkers, has been dumped by his low-class, slutty secretary, and our heroine has been charged with finding him a suitable wife -- a rich, fair, beautiful, old-family type. Quickly. But, between you, me and the four walls, who wants to marry poor,
Jane Austen's Emma, transported to the outrageous social melee of 21st-century Lahore.
Our plucky heroine's cousin, Jonkers, has been dumped by his low-class, slutty secretary, and our heroine has been charged with finding him a suitable wife -- a rich, fair, beautiful, old-family type. Quickly. But, between you, me and the four walls, who wants to marry poor, plain, hapless Jonkers?
As our heroine social-climbs her way through weddings-sheddings, GTs (get togethers, of course) and ladies' lunches trying to find a suitable girl from the right bagground, she discovers to her dismay that her cousin has his own ideas about his perfect mate. And secretly, she may even agree.
Full of wit and wickedness and as clever as its heroine is clueless, Duty Free is a delightful romp through Pakistani high society -- though, even as it makes you cry with laughter, it makes you wince at the gulf between our heroine's glitteringly shallow life and the country that is falling apart, day by day, around her Louboutin-clad feet. Moni Mohsin, already a huge bestseller in India, has been hailed as a modern-day Jane Austen, and compared to Nancy Mitford and Helen Fielding. Duty Free is social satire at its biting best.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In Pakistan-born, London-resident Mohsin's U.S. debut, an affluent Lahore housewife reluctantly seeks a suitable bride for her nerdy cousin Jonkers.
Really, it was mean of her Aunty Pussy to pressure our unnamed narrator into helping with this daunting task. Sure, the family has plenty of money, thanks to Uncle Kaukab's stint as "chief of central board of revenew" in the '80s, but Aunt Pussy wants Jonkers "to make a big marriage,na,to a nice rich, fair, beautiful type from an old family." He wants to marry for love and actually asks his cousin if she is happily wed. Well of course! Husband Janoo may spend a lot of time in "his bore village" and seem disappointed that his empty-headed spouse displays no shred of social conscience or glimmer of intellect as Pakistan goes to pieces in late 2009. What does she care? She has "a big house, servants, social life, status, cars, cupboards full of designerjorasand jewellery, and so on and so fourth." If only the "beardo-weirdos" would quit setting off bombs and threatening girls' schools, she could seriously enjoy shopping and hanging out with her equally status-conscious girlfriends. Our heroine's solipsistic diary entries aren't quite as hilarious as the author imagines, though her mix of Urdu and English filled with misspellings and malapropisms gives a tangy sense of her semi-educated, privileged mindset. Readers may not feel terrible when the narrator and a friend are robbed at gunpoint as they're having "a good old goss" in her car while a servant buys them fruit. But just as we're about to write her off, she proves to have a heart and decides to defend the hardworking travel agent Jonkers has fallen for against snobbish Aunty Pussy. Her discovery of an ethical core is a trifle sudden, but Mohsin's tale is good-natured enough so that we're happy it ends with a wedding and reconciliations all around.
A zesty South Asian accent gives this lightweight romp some heft.
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Random House
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 3 MB
Meet the Author
Moni Mohsin is the author of the Indian bestseller The Diary of a Social Butterfly and the award-winning The End of Innocence. Born in Pakistan, she currently lives in London. Duty Free is her American debut.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Interesting story, humorously told
I found myself laughing at the use of words out of context, this was a really enjoyable book. A fun read in the midst of a winter slump. If you have ever traveled to Pakistan this hits right on.
You will find yourself laughing out loud.