Karachi. Pakistan's largest city is a sprawling metropolis of twenty million people, twice the size of New York City. It is a place of political turbulence in which those who have power wield it with brutal and partisan force. It takes an insider to know where is safe, who to trust, and what makes Karachi tick.
In this powerful debut, Samira Shackle explores the city of her mother's birth in the company of a handful of Karachiites. Among them is Safdar the ambulance driver, who knows the city's streets and shortcuts intimately and will stop at nothing to help his fellow citizens. There is Parveen, the activist whose outspoken views on injustice repeatedly lead her towards danger. And there is Zille, the hardened journalist whose commitment to getting the best scoops puts him at increasing risk.
Their individual experiences unfold and converge, as Shackle tells the bigger story of Karachi over the past decade as it endures a terrifying crime wave: a period in which the Taliban arrive in Pakistan, adding to the daily perils for its residents and pushing their city into the international spotlight.
Writing with intimate local knowledge and a global perspective, Shackle paints a vivid portrait of one of the most complex and compelling cities in the world, a city where the borders blur between politicians and gangsters and between lawful and unlawful, as dangerous new forces of violent extremism are pitted against old networks of power.