#WigtownWednesdays | Samira Shackle ~ 31 Mar 2021

12 February 2021

In her powerful and fast-paced debut, Samira Shackle reveals the complex and fascinating city of Karachi as it is experienced through the lives of its inhabitants.

Karachi in Pakistan, is a sprawling mega-city of 20 million people. It is a place of political turbulence in which those who have power wield it with brutal and partisan force; it is a melting pot of cultures and religions; it is a city of lavish wealth and absolute poverty, and a place in which it pays to have friends in the right places and to avoid making deadly enemies.

Shackle uncovers the story of this vast and divided city through a handful of Karachiites. Among them is Safda, the ambulance driver, who knows the city’s streets and shortcuts intimately and will stop at nothing to help his fellow citizens. Also Parveen, the activist whose outspoken views on injustice and corruption repeatedly lead her towards danger. And Zille, the hardened journalist whose commitment to getting the best scoops puts him at increasing risk. As their individual experiences unfold, so Shackle tells the bigger story of Karachi over the past decade: a period of great unrest and upheaval in which the Taliban arrive in Pakistan, adding to the daily perils for its residents and pushing their city into the international spotlight.

About the author: Samira Shackle is a freelance British journalist, writing mainly on politics, terrorism, and gender, with a particular focus on the Indian subcontinent. She spent extensive time in Pakistan, where she has family, while working on this book. This is her first book.