Red Birds – Book Review

Red Birds by Mohammad Hanif

Book: Red Birds

Author : Mohammad Hanif


An American pilot crash lands in the desert, unprepared for any situation that can’t be resolved with the After Eight mints in his survival kit. Hallucinating palm trees and dehydrating isn’t Major Ellie’s idea of a good time, but he figures it’s less of a hassle than another marital spat back home. In a neighbouring refugee camp, Momo has his own problems; his money-making schemes aren’t working out as planned, his dog has ideas above his station and an academic researcher has shown up to study him for her thesis on the Teenage Muslim Mind. And then there’s the matter of his missing brother…


Magical realism is a genre that puts me in awe and also forces me to read a second time. Same has been the case in this book. Using magical realism, Hanif used dark humour to shove reality on the face, with a punch that leaves readers like me reeling from the impact.This book is a reminder that war continues to loom on earth like pollution as we move ahead in our lives, oblivious. We need books like this one to remind us.The setting, though unnamed, gave me vibes of Khaled Hosseini’s picture of Afghanistan in A Thousand Splendid Suns.”When someone dies in a raid or a shooting or when someone’s throat is slit, their last drop of blood transforms into a tiny red bird and flies away.” This line coming from a canine character made me concentrate on this character more than his human counterparts because among the bizarre circumstances, the mutt made more sense than the central character Momo who is as convoluted as a momo (the Asian food item) looks.
This book is ideal for someone who likes political satire and who enjoys magical realism as a genre.
Being my first Mohammad Hanif read, this book is simple and again twisted that I read it twice before writing this review.

My Rating: 4/5 for its outlandishness

22 thoughts on “Red Birds – Book Review

    1. War really is devastating. We sit comfortably in our home while there is war going on in the other part of our planet. It doesn’t do any good just destruction and anger.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t enjoy more of political genres but when a book really relates to what is happening in the actual world; in this case, how politics affects the society, I’d love the read. Would love to see how politics and magic blend in here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have honestly not read any book in this genre, but it does sound like an interesting read. I will have to pick up a copy and maybe this genre will be a new favorite!

    Liked by 1 person

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