The Return of the Butterfly


returnofbutterfly This book is the third book in Moni Mohsin’s social butterfly series. The first two books are – The Diary of a Social Butterfly and Duty Free.

However, you don’t have to read the earlier books to enjoy this one, it reads pretty well standalone.

What It’s About

Butterfly (name never revealed) is a prominent socialite living in Lahore, Pakistan. Her husband is a big landlord, and like any other socialite, her life is filled with weddings, GTs (get togethers), and trips to Harrods and Selfridges in London for shopping. This book written in the form of diary entries dishes humorously about her life.

My Review

A book depicting a lifestyle such as this would normally be quite abhorrent for me, but Moni Mohsin has a wonderful humorous writing style. She uses malapropisms and a broken Urdu-English vocabulary to really paint a hilarious picture of Butterfly and her friends and family. When I started reading, I was a bit turned off by the rampant spelling mistakes and wrong word usage, but after reading a couple of chapters, I realized just how deliberate and funny these mistakes are.

The book is in the form of diary entries and at first glance it felt very Bridget Jones-ish, but it’s really not, and even though the cover made me put it in the chick-lit category, it’s more of a straight up humorous and occasionally sarcastic take on public affairs and public officials in Pakistan.

However, what I felt was a drawback in this book is the lack of any overarching story. Even in an epistolary novel, I expect there to be some sort of a plot, with a logical start and finish, and that is completely missing in this novel. And this lack of plot made me feel like I was reading a satirical column in a magazine (in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if this book is merely a compilation of the author’s columns in a publication), and therefore two weeks after I have finished reading the book, I struggle to find anything specific to say about it. There’s no story, what would I talk about in a review?

Where it really shines is the amusing writing, and I love how political events in Pakistan are intermingled with Butterfly’s sometimes dimwitted, sometimes astute observations.

Overall a fun and lighthearted book, but nothing that will linger too long in your memory.

Note: You do need to know a bit about Pakistan’s recent history to appreciate the subtle digs that are made in this book.

Huge thanks to Penguin Random House for sending me this book for review consideration.

You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon

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  • Karen

    after a while this would probably feel too episodic to continue to hold the attention.

    • Nishita

      @disqus_gmoXW9BOB2:disqus Episodic is an apt word to describe this book.

  • Oh, sounds fun! I’ll give the first book in the series a try; my library’s got a copy.

  • Manjulika

    Absolutely agree with you on this.. I had loved the first book but the return of the butterfly isn’t charming. I am just trying to pull it off fast.

    • Nishita

      @Manjulika: I haven’t read the first book, guess that’s the better one 🙂

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