Mohsin is brilliant at malapropisms, and her sense of the absurd is faultless. Where else but in this mad whirligig of parties would you encounter a ‘three-tiara cake’, or meet ‘business typhoons’ and ‘textile magnets’? Where can one ‘slip into a comma’ but in this glorious world?
Yet, as Meera Syal once memorably said, "Life is not all ha-ha, hee-hee". Beneath this dazzling world, where you can laugh "until you go historical", lies a rotting body politic. One is reminded strongly of another spoof: Jill Tweedie’s Letters from a Faint-Hearted Feminist published long ago in The Guardian, which became cult reading in the ’70s. They are remembered even now for their scathing attack on designer feminism and the neocon politics of the Thatcher era. This is why one is drawn to Mohsin’s Butterfly diaries: 9/11, the army generals, the Taliban, Lal Masjid and even Benazir Bhutto’s assassination are all documented here. This diary, as Mohsin herself declares, is "a record—compiled admittedly by a rather cross-eyed observer—of some of Pakistan’s most turbulent years."
My advice is: Don’t read it in one gulp: it may be three much, as the Butterfly would say, and give you hotburn.