“Karachi You’re Killing Me” is the debut novel of Karachi based journalist Saba Imtiaz. It follows the story of 20 something reporter Ayesha, battling the woes of journalism, love, and existence in modern day Karachi. Her life between the newsroom, friends, partying and her press badge often falls out of balance but she manages to bring it back and finally find what she’s been missing.

1.       The Cover Art 

We’ve all been taught not to judge a book by its cover, but in this particular case, it may not be so bad. Red Lipstick, a gun, a building, and a hand gesture; foreground to a spiral everything falls into. The essence of the book couldn’t possibly be reflected any better.

2.       The Buzzing Journalistic Life in Pakistan

One of the best parts about this book was the brutal honesty with which the author describes the day to day life of a journalist. The waking up by an emergency call of violence happening somewhere in the city, the rush to report the news, working on national holidays, endless apologies for being late at social gatherings, and the realization that the story you have been working on for hours was already done by someone else pretty much gives us a glimpse of her everyday life.

3.       Completely Honest Descriptions

More than once while reading the novel; I involuntarily yelled “SAME!” to the dismay of people around me. I couldn’t help it; the way Imtiaz describes the reporter juggling her personal, professional and social life is exactly how I imagine adult life is. I wonder if that’s completely sad but isn’t that how everyone is? This novel was just honest enough to show it.

4.       The truth about living in Karachi

Other than anyone who has been living under a rock, we’re all well aware of the situation of Karachi. Breeding with violence “where it’s easier to hire an assassin than meet an attractive, intelligent, normal man.”, Ayesha has to constantly change her appearance; a dress when going out with friends, a sari at a fashion show, dupatta covering her head as she covers a religious procession and a naqab while she hopes to outrun the dangerous-looking man following her. The discontent shown by everyone when Ayesha’s friend Saad decides to move back to \karachi from Abu Dhabi perfectly represents how absurd we think it is for someone to leave a good life abroad and move to Karachi where “life and love come to die.”

5.       The daily grind of being a female journalist

This novel provides one of the best and most amusing accounts of what it takes to be a female journalist Pakistan. From the point where the reporter of a bigger news channel steals Ayesha’s eye-witness away and says “Uff ho, atituuuude” when she glares at him, to the spokesperson of a religious party who wouldn’t look her in the eye but will call her past midnight “to chat”, Imtiaz has succeeded to put it all into words.

These are just a few of the reasons “Karachi, You’re Killing Me” is a great book and why it’s so relatable but let’s leave the rest to the amazing work of the author.