The Scatter Here Is Too GreatBy Bilal Tanweer
This title was longlisted for the 2015 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. It was winner of the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2014. The Scatter Here Is Too Great heralds a major new voice from Pakistan with a stunning debut - a novel told in a rich variety of distinctive voices that converge at a single horrific event: a bomb blast at a station in the heart of the city. Comrade Sukhansaz, an old communist poet, is harassed on a bus full of college students minutes before the blast. His son, a wealthy middle-aged businessman, yearns for his own estranged child. A young man, Sadeq, has a dead-end job snatching cars from people who have defaulted on their bank loans, while his girlfriend spins tales for her young brother to conceal her own heartbreak. An ambulance driver picking up the bodies after the blast has a shocking encounter with two strange-looking men whom nobody else seems to notice. And in the midst of it all, a solitary writer, tormented with grief for his dead father, struggles to find words. In a style that is at once inventive and deeply moving, Tanweer reveals the pain, loneliness and longing of these characters and celebrates the power of the written word to heal individuals and communities plagued by violence. Elegantly weaving together a striking portrait of a city and its people, The Scatter Here Is Too great is a love story written to Karachi - as vibrant and varied in its characters, passions, and idiosyncrasies as the city itself.