Author Mohsin Hamid recommends what to read, listen to out of Pakistan right now

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Author Mohsin Hamid. Credit: Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images

Here at the NewsHour Arts desk, we regularly ask figures in the arts for their recommendations on what we should be reading, listening to, or watching this weekend.

This week, we turned to Mohsin Hamid, author of the new and magical novel “Exit West,” which follows the love story of two refugees as they leave home. His previous novel, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” a 9/11 book written from the perspective of a young Pakistani, was shortlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize.

“I have been moving around my whole life: California, Pakistan, London, New York, Pakistan again. And I wanted to write about the experience of migration,” Hamid, a native of Lahore, Pakistan, told the NewsHour about why he wrote “Exit West.” “I also felt this resistance to migrants was growing, and I wanted to write in response to that.”

Here is what Hamid — who now splits time between Pakistan, the U.S. and Europe — says you should be listening to or reading.

For a political look at Pakistan, there’s Mohammed Hanif’s “Case of Exploding Mangoes,” a wonderful Catch-22 type satire.

Case of Exploding Mangoes

Credit: Knopf/US

For a look at the Pakistani village life, there’s Daniyal Mueenuddin’s “In Other Rooms, Other Wonders.”

Daniyal Mueenuddin's “In Other Rooms, Other Wonders.

Credit: W. W. Norton & Company

There are several novels by Kamila Shamsie, including a new one that hasn’t been released. But perhaps readers could begin with “In The City By The Sea.”

Credit: Bloomsbury

If music is to your liking, I would suggest the amazing singer Abida Parveen, who is a bit like a Nina Simone [or] Aretha Franklin figure in the Pakistan tradition. She’s incredible.

And of course, the soundtracks to really any of the films by Mira Nair, but in particular the soundtrack to the film she made for “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” my novel.

On that soundtrack, I would suggest a wonderful track called “Kaindey Ney,” sung by one Zahra Khan who also happens to be my wife, but I’m really partial to that one.

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