Instant City: Life & Death In Karachi
Rs 599 pp 284
For most Indians, Karachi is the port city from which two inflatable speedboats carrying an armed crew had set off on November 26, 2008, to land at two points in Colaba. But as American journalist Steve Inskeep tells us in gritty, tactile detail in Instant City, Karachi is that city and much more. His focal point into this biography of Pakistan's largest and most bustling city is another subcontinental tremor - the bomb blast that ripped through a Shia procession on December 28, 2009.
Inskeep tells the story of how a multi-cultural city, 'Jinnah's city', has developed into a veritable organism where acts of terror can be indistinguishable from sectarian or criminal violence. Even with the over-explanations for a subcontinental reader, this a must-read for those who want to know how terror and violence can coexist with the bustle and sheer life of a megalopolis bursting at its seams.