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The Nine Lives of Pakistan

Dispatches from a Divided Nation

Declan Walsh



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14 November 2020
The demise of Pakistan - a country with a reputation for volatility, brutality and radical Islam - is regularly predicted. But things rarely turn out as expected, as renowned journalist Declan Walsh knows well. Over a decade covering the country, his travels took him from the raucous port of Karachi to the gilded salons of Lahore to the lawless frontier of Waziristan, encountering Pakistanis whose lives offer a compelling portrait of this land of contradictions.

He meets a crusading lawyer who risks her life to fight for society's most marginalised, taking on everyone including the powerful military establishment; an imperious chieftain spouting poetry at his desert fort; a roguish politician waging a mini-war against the Taliban; and a charismatic business tycoon who moves into politics and seems to be riding high - till he takes up the wrong cause. Lastly, Walsh meets a spy whose orders once involved following him, and who might finally be able to answer the question that haunts him: why the Pakistanis suddenly expelled him from their country.

Intimate and complex, unravelling the many mysteries of state and religion, this formidable book offers an arresting account of life in a country that, often as not, seems to be at war with itself.
By:   Declan Walsh
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   554g
ISBN:   9781408868478
ISBN 10:   1408868474
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   14 November 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Declan Walsh covered Pakistan for over a decade, for the Guardian and the New York Times. The Pakistani authorities expelled him in 2013, citing unspecified undesirable activities . Walsh has reported from sub-Saharan Africa, Afghanistan, the United States and across the Middle East. He lives in Cairo.

Reviews for The Nine Lives of Pakistan: Dispatches from a Divided Nation

First-rate reportage ... Captivating ... Walsh is a wonderful writer, with a gift for sketching an impression of a place, time and ambience with a few brief lines. He knows how to interweave travelogue with an account of the relentless tensions that always threaten to burst through each vignette in the book. What also shines through is the relish with which Walsh throws himself into the far corners of Pakistan, into crowds, celebrations and rites, with a drive born of fascination with the land and its people -- Julian Borger * Guardian * [A] thrilling, big-hearted book ... [Walsh] plunges into the messy country beyond and threads the nation's recent history into the biographies of some of the extraordinary people he meets ... If Walsh's guts take him places others have not reached, his prose - vigorous, cockeyed and clear - brings it home to the reader ... A richly observed study of how humans respond to the extraordinary pressures of a sometimes-choking society; empathetic, but hard-nosed and never veering into hagiography -- Memphis Barker * Telegraph * Clear-sighted and exhaustive, these dispatches paint a scrupulously layered portrait of a country that defies easy explanations * Irish Times * Declan Walsh describes, with intellectual power and cool elegance, a much-misunderstood country. All those interested in South Asia and its complex politics and culture should read it -- Pankaj Mishra, author of 'Age of Anger' 'An irresistible combination of storytelling panache and in-depth knowledge; Declan Walsh brings vividly to life characters and situations that illuminate some of the most significant phases of Pakistan's history -- Kamila Shamsie, Winner of the Women's Prize for Fiction A wonderful book that sets a new benchmark for non-fiction about the complex palace of mirrors that is Pakistan ... Walsh has a rapier wit, a talent for skilfully sketched pen portraits and a sharp eye for tragedy, paradox and absurdity. With The Nine Lives of Pakistan he has produced a beautifully, lightly, fluently written book that is as profoundly nuanced as it is sharply perceptive -- William Dalrymple

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