Ayesha is a twenty-something reporter in one of the world's most dangerous cities. Her assignments range from showing up at bomb sites and picking her way through scattered body parts to interviewing her boss's niece, the couture-cupcake designer. In between dicing with death and absurdity, Ayesha despairs over the likelihood of ever meeting a nice guy, someone like her old friend Saad, whose shoulder she cries on after every romantic misadventure. Her choices seem limited to narcissistic, adrenaline-chasing reporters who'll do anything to get their next story, to the spoilt offspring of the Karachi elite who'll do anything to cure their boredom. Her most pressing problem, however, is how to straighten her hair during the chronic power outages. Karachi, You're Killing Me! is Bridget Jones's Diary meets the Diary of a Social Butterfly, a comedy of manners in a city with none.
Published by Random House India. In bookstores now. Read more about the book on Random House India's blog.
"Bestselling Pakistani novel Karachi, You're Killing Me! by local journalist Saba Imtiaz has been acquired for a Bollywood adaptation by Mumbai-based banner Abundantia Entertainment." - The Hollywood Reporter
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"What Imtiaz is able to do with her novel is capture the absurdity of reporting and living in a city often billed as Pakistan's most dangerous. Her heroine flits easily from interviewing gangsters in the gang-ridden neighborhood of Lyari to party-hopping through the city's elite Clifton neighborhood, draining hosts of their bootlegged liquor. In fact, readers who think of Pakistan as a dry country may be surprised to discover that much like an American high school, the complexities of getting liquor and drinking it feature heavily in the novel. That's perhaps what the novel excels at — upending stereotypes of Pakistan — but not in a preachy way." - AP
"The satire is pitch perfect and may hit those of us who live in the subcontinent harder than the rest. Refreshingly devoid of glosses and translations, Imtiaz’s novel is unapologetically faithful to the cultural nuances from which it emerges." - Mint
"Though based in Karachi and utilising the distinctly Pakistani quandaries of political instability and terrorist-induced chaos, Saba Imtiaz manages to weave a story that is as cosmopolitan in essence as it is Pakistani. Take the kurtas and the rickshaws out of the equation, and the novel could be about any woman struggling to carve a niche in any cosmopolitan city around the globe." - Literati, The News on Sunday
"The novel is by no means a sensationalized account of the contemporary life of women like us; our heroine is remarkably unglamorous, as is her life. The reader who finds this salacious is simply out of touch with contemporary Pakistan." - Pique
"By turns a comedy of manners, an incisive look at the journalistic life, an examination of a city with a dangerous edge, and an attempt to stand chicklit on its head, Karachi, You’re Killing Me! is, quite simply, a very good read." - Hindustan Times
"Imtiaz’s choice of subject gives you a better introduction to Pakistan than most others could, simply because it puts you in the vantage position of being up close and personal with the political and socio-economic situation" - The New Indian Express
"Amidst the persistent air of doom and gloom and much more that is Karachi (a city obsessed with Humsafar, Turkish soap operas and cricket betting), Imtiaz still manages to carve out a narrative of hope that is the driving force of the millions that trudge along here, giving her book thus the clichéd happy-ever-after ending. Her narrative is articulate and fast-paced, and doesn’t disinterest the reader for a moment. All in all, it is a book for those who share her feelings about dystopic Karachi and care for a light, wholehearted look at the city and its many demons." - Books & Authors, Dawn
"In Karachi, You’re Killing Me, Ms. Imtiaz has managed to pull together a novel that you want to read and share with people, not because of a misplaced sense of 'Oh crap, it’s another Pakistani writer, I suppose I have to be mildly positive' but instead because it’s actually laugh-out-loud funny, witty, and entertaining." - The Friday Times
"The novel is realistic, especially its characters and events. Even if you have not experienced first-hand many of the incidents, or spent large amounts of time with people who resemble the characters, you will still recognise them and discover that you are in one way or the other familiar with the world of Imtiaz’s Karachi Along with the believable characters and events, Imtiaz has given her readers some exceptionally witty, absolutely hilarious quotes that make one snort with laughter." - Herald
"Karachi, You’re Killing Me! manages to remain witty and entertaining throughout, mainly because Imtiaz has made in Ayesha an immediately likeable character, smart and genuinely funny in her observations. Humour is the greatest strength of the novel." - Newsline
"Saba Imtiaz’s book is a very funny story in a very grim setting." - The News
"Imtiaz writes with verve and panache of the travails of the 20s-something Ayesha, whose work takes her to the site of suicide bombings, the Bhutto family mausoleum in interior Sindh, an over-the-top fashion show (where the boss' inebriated wife walks the ramp) - and even to interview a couture cupcake designer (the boss' niece) or verify the reports of an escaped lion on the beach. The treatment is humorous - the depictions of the fashion show and the literature fest (where two men quarrel over their 'contributions' to Faiz's poetry) are among the funniest." - IANS
"It recommends itself, first and foremost, with its laugh a page, wittily and intelligently, as the narrator, a newspaper reporter called Ayesha, negotiates her career (her dreams of a contract to report conflict for a foreign network, her stingy, overbearing boss, her dungeon of an office, her shoestring reporting budgets, her chase for a big Guantanamo scoop), her social life (clothes, eccentric family, hyper friends, bootlegger, boyfriend), her city (this is, after all, Karachi in this turbulent decade, and getting by needs her to do things like change autorickshaws as she crosses “from one gang-controlled area into another”), the particularly complicated codeswitching needed. Call it what you will, but it’s a book that works on multiple levels." - The Indian Express
"This is a story only an insider could tell – in the way that only Indians can speak badly about India and how dare foreigners attempt to do so. She allows her audience a window into the world of Karachi, women and journalism with a smarting wit. This novel doesn’t attempt to be a critique of society as much as just describing how things are." - Story South Asia
"There is, of course, always an awareness the characters in this book have, of being balanced on the edge of disaster. They live with it and carry on, even as Ayesha observes that all passengers streaming into the arrivals lounge of Karachi airport look 'like they’ve been handed a death sentence'. Easily written, and with no pretensions to being a literary classic, this book is about laughing in the darkest of dark times". - The Asian Age
"For a reader, nothing is more gratifying than reading something which fulfills and satisfies at the same time. 'Karachi, You're Killing Me' is one of those books. You immediately take a liking to it and that is that. Saba Imtiaz's first book, 'Karachi, You're Killing Me' is a romp of a read and when I say romp - I mean it in the sense of it being fast-paced, funny, tongue-in-cheek and describing the extremes of Pakistan - from the elite to the not-so elite to the middle class that hangs in the balance." - IBN Live
"All of which makes Karachi, You're Killing Me! sound terribly worthy, and it's not; it's just as easy to read as a snarky expose of a certain group of people (and if I was from Karachi I suspect I'd be making wild and inaccurate guesses about who each character was intended to represent). But the real story is Ayesha's own career, which survives an encounter with an attractive American plagiarist and at least one near-death experience, to put her exactly she wants to be at the end of the book. It's unusual and wonderful to have a fluffy, snarky wish-fulfillment novel make this the desired object, rather than the attainment of the perfect romance." - The Sunday Guardian
"The protagonist in the story has a sarcastic sense of humor, and has an “oh snap” personality that you secretly know you would enjoy having some funny banter with." - Sunday
IN THE PRESS
Speaking about Karachi, You're Killing Me! and life in Karachi as a journalist
The growing appetite for literature in Pakistan
Karachi You're Killing Me!
Ayesha Khan is a young, single journalist dodging bombs and bullets, avoiding lost lion cubs, and attending Pakistan's Fashion Week - all on a diet of beer, cigarettes and chili chips. She's the narrator of journalist Saba Imtiaz's first novel, Karachi,You're Killing Me! which has just been published. Saba Imtiaz and Mohammed Hanif of BBC Urdu and an acclaimed novelist, join The Fifth Floor to talk about the perils, pleasures and occasional laugh-out-loud moments of being a journalist in Karachi
Debut novel by young Karachi journalist on finding love and and covering violence
It is tempting to compare Ayesha, the heroine of Saba Imtiaz's rollicking novel 'Karachi, You're Killing Me', to Bridget Jones. She is single, ready to mingle, and weight-obsessed. But what makes this young reporter's story far more riveting is that it is set in Karachi, a city where the parties are wild and the streets dangerous. The 28-year-old Imtiaz, whose debut novel draws on some of her own journalistic experiences, tells Malini Nair that there's much more to Karachi than crime and conflict.
Bilal Tanweer (author of The Scatter Here is Too Great) and Saba Imtiaz (author of Karachi, You're Killing Me!) talk to BBC Urdu about their books and Karachi
89 Chapters: Saba Imtiaz joins Mahvesh Murad live in the studios to talk about her debut novel Karachi, You're Killing Me!
Coffee Republic: Author of Karachi You're Killing Me Saba Imtiaz talks about her novel's subject - Karachi and journalism.
Liberal literature pushes Pakistan boundaries
Interview about Karachi, You're Killing Me!
Interview about Karachi, You're Killing Me! and journalism in Pakistan
A funny story in a grim setting, this book is about Ayesha Khan, a reporter for a Karachi newspaper who works in the most dangerous areas, who finds that dodging bombs and bullets is not as challenging as landing a suitable guy!
Sharp and scathing when it has to be, Saba Imtiaz’s debut promises to be more about laughs than introspection of the more profound variety, but then there is nothing more than surviving in Karachi entails than a great sense of humour
There'll be no getting away from journalists this year. February sees the release of Pakistani author Saba Imtiaz's Karachi, You're Killing Me (Vintage), in which, Bridget Jones-esque Ayesha wonders which is harder: dodging bullets or finding a normal guy to date?
The fiction writer to watch out for this year is Pakistan's Saba Imtiaz, a young journalist who is making her debut with Karachi, You're Killing Me! - a hilarious comedy in which a young reporter dodges bullets and bombs to score a date and find a bootlegger who will deliver during riots.