Review: The Cloud Messenger by Aamer Hussein

Mehran, growing up in Karachi, hears his father and sister speaking about London all the time, as if it were an exotic location. He ends up living there as an adult, but in the rainy, dreary climate he turns back to the poetry of his homeland, dreaming of other places. As he travels between Italy, India, Pakistan and London we watch his relationships grow and die and wonder if he will ever truly find a place where he’ll feel that he belongs.

I very much enjoyed the beginning of this novel. Mehran is growing up in Karachi, but his mother yearns for the lush greenery of her own childhood in Indore, taking her family there sometimes to soak up this alternative life as well as making visits to Bombay. Mehran becomes a great reader and is able to speak different languages, but already from childhood he has a confused sense of belonging. I found this part of the story interesting and well written, intrigued to read more of a country I don’t really know very much about. The novel is divided into six parts, and in part 3 the focus changes to first person so Mehran tells us of his life himself. At this point he is living in London and studying Persian poetry so there is more discussion of various poets, poetry and translation. This is when Mehran begins his friendship with Marco, and also with Riccarda.

Read the rest of my review for The Bookbag.


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