Long-listed for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, a lyrical novel set over the course of one morning in a small town in Pakistan

Fatima Bhutto’s stunning debut novel chronicles the lives of five young people trying to live and love in a world on fire. Set during the American invasion of Afghanistan, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon begins and ends one rain-swept Friday morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border.

Three brothers meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, Aman Erum, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. Sikandar, a doctor, drives to the hospital where he works, but must first stop to collect his troubled wife, who has not joined the family that morning. No one knows where Mina goes these days. Sikandar is exhausted by Mina’s instability and by the pall of grief that has enveloped his family. But when, later in the morning, the two are taken hostage by members of the Taliban, Mina will prove to be stronger than anyone could have imagined.

The youngest of the three leaves for town on a motorbike. An idealist, Hayat holds strong to his deathbed promise to their father—to free Mir Ali from oppressors. Seated behind him is a beautiful, fragile girl whose life and thoughts are overwhelmed by the war that has enveloped the place of her birth.

Three hours later their day will end in devastating circumstances.

In this beautifully observed novel, individuals are pushed to make terrible choices. And as the events of this single morning unfold, one woman is at the center of it all.
 

Praise for The Shadow of the Crescent Moon

"Bhutto writes of an extraordinary place where beauty lives alongside brutality, with superb poise and a kind of defiant lyricism." —The Times (UK)


"[The Shadow of the Crescent Moon] is... a human story, with love as well as ideology - Bhutto blends the two adroitly (and) writes with great poignancy, keeping the emotional pitch high." —Financial Times

'Bhutto's new novel will move you with its profound wisdom and sharp grasp of our turbulent times' Elif Shafak

'This is a bold and probing novel, from a writer strikingly alert to something small and true' Guardian

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How far would you run to escape your life?

Anita lives in Karachi's biggest slum. Her mother is a maalish wali, paid to massage the tired bones of rich women. But Anita's life will change forever when she meets her elderly neighbour, a man whose shelves of books promise an escape to a different world.

On the other side of Karachi lives Monty, whose father owns half the city and expects great things of him. But when a beautiful and rebellious girl joins his school, Monty will find his life going in a very different direction.

Sunny's father left India and went to England to give his son the opportunities he never had. Yet Sunny doesn't fit in anywhere. It's only when his charismatic cousin comes back into his life that he realises his life could hold more possibilities than he ever imagined.

These three lives will cross in the desert, a place where life and death walk hand in hand, and where their closely guarded secrets will force them to make a terrible choice.

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'Highly topical . . . The Runaways offers an unflinching look at the key subjects of our time and the riveting story of three memorable characters' Financial Times

'A shocking, moving, and deeply compassionate novel' Vogue

'Every page of this is priceless' Gary Shteyngart

'A powerful and moving book. It is a book that anyone rushing to condemn young people for being radicalised should read' Anne Youngson, author of Meet Me at the Museum

'As compassionate as it is trenchant, this rare fiction is an illuminating guide through the great disorder of our times' Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger

'Dazzling . . . a novel that holds up to scrutiny a world of claustrophobic war zones, virulent social media and cities collapsing upon themselves, and then sets it down again, transformed by the grace of storytelling' Siddartha Deb, author of The Point of Return

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PRAISE FOR FATIMA BHUTTO'S PREVIOUS WORK:

'It's clear that there is an ambitious literary mind at work...Bhutto's talent is evident, exciting' The New York Times Book Review

'Bhutto is a gifted and compelling writer, economically and poetically summoning up this beautiful mountainous backwater' Mail on Sunday

'Incredibly ambitious, extremely powerful and moving' BBC Radio 4

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