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A vivid and intricate novel-in-stories, The Scatter Here Is Too Great explores the complicated lives of ordinary people whose fates unexpectedly converge after a deadly bomb blast at the Karachi train station: an old communist poet; his wealthy, middle-aged son; a young man caught in an unpleasant, dead-end job; a girl who spins engaging tales to conceal her heartbreak; and a grief-stricken writer, who struggles to make sense of this devastating tragedy.
Bilal Tanweer reveals the pain, loneliness, and longing of these characters and celebrates the power of the written word to heal lives and communities plagued by violence. Elegantly weaving together different voices into a striking portrait of a city and its people, The Scatter Here Is Too Great is a tale as vibrant and varied in its characters, passions, and idiosyncrasies as the city itself.
About the Author
Bilal Tanweer was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. His fiction, poetry, and translations have appeared in various international journals, including Granta, Vallum, The Caravan, and Words Without Borders. He was selected as a Granta New Voice in 2011 and was named an Honorary Fellow of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He lives in Lahore, Pakistan.
“A vivid picture of a city blown to pieces by years of violence. . . . From his shards of stories he reconstructs a vibrant, hopeful panorama.” — The Wall Street Journal
“A thoughtful and original book.” — New York Journal of Books
“The Scatter Here Is Too Great [offers] nuanced characters, rich textures of fragmented experiences, and a distinct writing style. . . . One hell of a good read.” — Washington Independent Review of Books
“Bilal Tanweer has written a modern love letter -- furious, passionate, playful, and longing -- to Pakistan. And in his brilliant hands it becomes the universal story of home.” — Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet
“A superb and genuinely exciting debut.... He assembles a story of Karachi through lovingly-collected fragments. By the end of this book he had made me see that certain things are more beautiful and valuable for having been broken.” — Nadeem Aslam, author of Maps for Lost Lovers
“A beautiful debut, and a blood-soaked love letter to Karachi.” — Mohammed Hanif, author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes
“Bilal Tanweer uses his many gifts as a writer to evoke a Karachi of humor, violence, frustration, love -- and breathtaking stories at every turn. A wonderful debut.” — Kamila Shamsie, author of Burnt Shadows
“A timely and unconventional debut. . . . Powerful. . . . Its beautiful fragments coalesce to form an elaborate, haunting portrait of urban Pakistan, one that is rich with acute sociological detail and subtle existential contemplation.” — The Guardian
“Edgy. . . . Stylish. . . . This poetic novel-in-stories is an invaluable portrait of modern-day Karachi.” — Publishers Weekly
“An eloquent, moving debut.” — Booklist
“In one slim volume of interconnected stories Bilal Tanweer creates characters so deftly alive they illuminate the world’s strangest and least-charted megacity in all its soiled and yes, hilarious, splendor.” — Lorraine Adams, author of Harbor
“This is a beautiful, deeply powerful novel. Tanweer is a talented writer who manages with simple, elegant phrases to draw a very touching, humane portrait with real characters that can almost breathe on paper.” — Alaa Al Aswany, author of The Yacoubian Building