His story about three Pakistani guys grappling with events in New York post 9/11 fetched him rave reviews and subsequently, the inaugural DSC Prize. Now, HM Naqvi’s debut novel, Home Boy may be hitting the big screen too. “A couple of production houses have approached me, and I’d be curious to see a different permutation of the book,” confesses Naqvi, adding, “However, I haven’t pushed for it because I’m done with Home Boy and am more excited about my second project now. Though, it’ll be nice to see it (Home Boy movie) get made. In the next few months, one will have a sense of what’s happening with that.”
The author is on his first visit to the city as part of promotions for his 2009 book. Earlier this year, he also attended the Jaipur Literature Festival, where he collected his prize, specially instituted for South Asian literature. “It’s a wonderful development in the world of South Asian arts, and about time we got a prize of our own. I’m happy as hell to have won it, but irrespective of that, I’m happy to achieve my daily quota of writing 300 words for my next novel. I did it before I won and I continue to do so now,” he says.
The story of how Naqvi conceived Home Boy one night is as damous as his novel. The first words were scribbled onto a cocktail napkin at a Manhattan bar in 2003, the very venue where The Ramones first emerged in 1974 (the same year Naqvi was born). It took him another four years to complete the book. “I consider it quite whimsical that I was in the States at that time. Had I been in Karachi, I don’t think it would have worked out this way,” he smiles.
Point out to him that while one thoroughly enjoyed reading Home Boy, there were plenty of loose ends in the story. Is that just his style or a deliberate attempt to create scope for a sequel? Naqvi laughs, “I think I’m done with this book. But as for tying up the narrative thread, I feel that a successful book stays with you after you’re done. The characters stay with you, and you wonder what would happen to them. Besides, you’d conjure up so many more possibilities and scenarios than I could!”