Daniyal Mueenuddin's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Daniyal Mueenuddin recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Daniyal Mueenuddin's favorite book recommendations of all time.


The Reluctant Fundamentalist

At a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful encounter...

Changez is living an immigrant's dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by an elite valuation firm. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his budding romance with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore.

But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds...

Daniyal MueenuddinWell, it’s an odd kind of book. I think what’s especially useful about it is the way in which it describes the transformation in this man’s thinking. The protagonist is somebody who had been living in New York and been a banker and he gradually turns into, as the title says, a reluctant fundamentalist. This is something that I have seen among my friends in Pakistan. People who I have always... (Source)

Ahmede HussainThis is an amazing book, and it’s a shame that it didn’t win the Man Booker Prize [in 2007] – in my opinion it was the best of the bunch. I think it’s going to become a modern classic in five or 10 years’ time, if it’s not already regarded as one. This novel speaks for so many peoples’ experiences in the aftermath of 9/11. The prose is very tight and the title is also very clever. (Source)

Amy WaldmanYou’re right – the protagonist has a completely different profile from the humble one in Harbor. Changez is from a prestigious Pakistani family, but one without a lot of money. He comes to the United States to attend Princeton on a scholarship and then is recruited into the corporate world. The whole novel is a monologue. This character, in a café in Lahore, is talking to an unidentified... (Source)

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The novel that set the stage for his modern classic, The Satanic Verses, Shame is Salman Rushdie’s phantasmagoric epic of an unnamed country that is “not quite Pakistan.” In this dazzling tale of an ongoing duel between the families of two men–one a celebrated wager of war, the other a debauched lover of pleasure–Rushdie brilliantly portrays a world caught between honor and humiliation–“shamelessness, shame: the roots of violence.” Shame is an astonishing story that grows more timely by the day. less
Recommended by Fatima Bhutto, Daniyal Mueenuddin, and 2 others.

Fatima BhuttoI have personal reasons for choosing this. It is the story of two men, two very powerful men. One is based on my grandfather, Pakistan’s former president and prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and the other is based on Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who was a military general who overthrew my grandfather and eventually killed him. (Source)

Daniyal MueenuddinThis is the only one of Rushdie’s books which is set in Pakistan. A lot of the stories in the book are actually true. For example, the description of relations among various members of the Bhutto family and the descriptions of the corruption and bribes going on are all true. (Source)

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Mottled Dawn

Fifty Sketches and Stories of Partition

This is a collection of Saadat Hasan Mantos most powerful pieces on the Partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947. The book includes unforgettable stories like "Toba Tek Singh", "The Return", "The Assignment", "Colder Than Ice" and many more, bringing alive the most tragic event in the history of the Indian subcontinent. less
Recommended by Daniyal Mueenuddin, and 1 others.

Daniyal MueenuddinAll of these stories are brief, violent, hastily written and stark. I think this is very fitting to the period which he was describing which is around the time of the Partition. It’s similar to Pakistan today which has become a more violent place than a few years ago. I particularly recommend his story, “Toba Tek Singh”, which is about how two or three years after Partition, the governments of... (Source)

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A Case of Exploding Mangoes

A Washington Post, Rocky Mountain News, Boston Globe Best Book of the Year

Intrigue and subterfuge combine with bad luck and good in this darkly comic debut about love, betrayal, tyranny, family, and a conspiracy trying its damnedest to happen.

Ali Shigri, Pakistan Air Force pilot and Silent Drill Commander of the Fury Squadron, is on a mission to avenge his father's suspicious death, which the government calls a suicide.Ali's target is none other than General Zia ul-Haq, dictator of Pakistani. Enlisting a rag-tag group of conspirators,...
Recommended by Daniyal Mueenuddin, Sophie Mcneill, and 2 others.

Daniyal MueenuddinNo. This is a book about the assassination of General Zia. Nobody really knows who killed him, but the suggestion is that a case of mangoes was loaded on to his airplane and inside the case of mangoes was nerve gas which knocked out the pilot and caused the plane to crash. In a way it’s a comic book because it pokes fun at the General. I think it’s a useful book because of that. People like... (Source)

Sophie Mcneill@diaahadid @AFPAfPak Love this book x (Source)

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