Red Birds – Book Review

Red Birds by Mohammad Hanif

Book: Red Birds

Author : Mohammad Hanif


An American pilot crash lands in the desert, unprepared for any situation that can’t be resolved with the After Eight mints in his survival kit. Hallucinating palm trees and dehydrating isn’t Major Ellie’s idea of a good time, but he figures it’s less of a hassle than another marital spat back home. In a neighbouring refugee camp, Momo has his own problems; his money-making schemes aren’t working out as planned, his dog has ideas above his station and an academic researcher has shown up to study him for her thesis on the Teenage Muslim Mind. And then there’s the matter of his missing brother…


Magical realism is a genre that puts me in awe and also forces me to read a second time. Same has been the case in this book. Using magical realism, Hanif used dark humour to shove reality on the face, with a punch that leaves readers like me reeling from the impact.This book is a reminder that war continues to loom on earth like pollution as we move ahead in our lives, oblivious. We need books like this one to remind us.The setting, though unnamed, gave me vibes of Khaled Hosseini’s picture of Afghanistan in A Thousand Splendid Suns.”When someone dies in a raid or a shooting or when someone’s throat is slit, their last drop of blood transforms into a tiny red bird and flies away.” This line coming from a canine character made me concentrate on this character more than his human counterparts because among the bizarre circumstances, the mutt made more sense than the central character Momo who is as convoluted as a momo (the Asian food item) looks.
This book is ideal for someone who likes political satire and who enjoys magical realism as a genre.
Being my first Mohammad Hanif read, this book is simple and again twisted that I read it twice before writing this review.

My Rating: 4/5 for its outlandishness

    22 thoughts on “Red Birds – Book Review

    1. Your inspirations are so great… that’s true bad things can’t stop happening so as we seat in our comfort zone let’s not forget what come next whether good or bad.

      1. War really is devastating. We sit comfortably in our home while there is war going on in the other part of our planet. It doesn’t do any good just destruction and anger.

    2. This sounds like a very thought-provoking book! I haven’t read too many books in the Magical Realism genre although I did read Tony Morrison’s Beloved.

    3. I feel like magical realism is always an interesting take on the world around us. It can be quite telling, even in it’s absurdity. Thanks for sharing (:

    4. I love the plot of this book. It sounds quite interesting and intriguing. I will definitely be saving the name for later reads.

    5. I find magical realism very fascinating. This sounds like a really nice book, I will try to get my hands on it !

    6. Thanks for sharing! I have not had time to read and wish I could read more. Thanks for the book recommendation

    7. I don’t enjoy more of political genres but when a book really relates to what is happening in the actual world; in this case, how politics affects the society, I’d love the read. Would love to see how politics and magic blend in here.

    8. I think it’s interesting! Political satire x magical realism. I love books but I always go with more self-improvement ones.

    9. Magical realism is actually one of my favorite genres. I had never heard about this book before. I will have to check it out at the library soon. Sounds awesome.

    10. I have honestly not read any book in this genre, but it does sound like an interesting read. I will have to pick up a copy and maybe this genre will be a new favorite!

    11. This could be a new book genre that would be interesting to read. Will check your recommendation.

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