Between You, Me & the Four Walls By Moni Mohsin | Book Review

“I was trying to think why India’s suffering has upset me more than America’s or Braazeel’s and I think so it is because whatever we might do to each other, we are still humsayas. Their saya is also our saya, na. What is happening to them today could be our fate tomorrow. Also, we watch the same movies, eat the same gol guppas, give the same gaalis, and speak same to same. We are also all lovers of Shahrukh Khan. That’s why.”

The Social Butterfly is back with her signature wingbeat. The world may have moved at a rattling pace since her last outing but the lifestyles of Lahore’s literati, Dubai’s glitterati and London’s desi flutterati have more than kept pace. Earth-shattering events like wars, climate change, and the pandemic have nothing on the treachery of the maalish waali, Meghan Markle’s tiara and the mechanics of ‘sad make-up’. Spanning eight rollicking years from 2014 to 2021, Butterfly’s frank, funny diaries tell us how it is in the private lives of the haves and the have-mores.

2. Between, You, Me & the Four Walls

I have enjoyed and loved Moni Mohsin’s Butterfly series which I first read in 2016. I’ve been an ardent follower of the author since then, reading all her columns shared on social media. This was a much awaited book since she first announced it sometime in 2021, along with her second fiction novel – The Impeccable Integrity of Ruby R.

Butterfly Khan is one of the most glam, sophisty people in Pakistan from a good khaata-peeta bagground. She has an opinion on everything and shares it in her bulletin/diary. Yes, her spellings leave much to be desired but who cares as long as the reader understands the meaning. Her son, Kulchoo may lose his temper when she asks him to turn her into a social media Influenza and her husband, whom she fondly addresses as Janoo, may choose to give up in a never-ending argument in favour of keeping his sanity, but if Butterfly has something to say, she will leave with the last word.

Mohsin’s humour has a unique voice and it is impossible to not get drawn into the socio-political arguments that fight for attention amidst Butterfly’s buzzing lifestyle. The language with its desi nuances, cultural fixations and Butterfly’s muddled English is a delight to read. This is not the kind of humour you can listen on audio because all the language humour would be entirely lost.

However, I must add, it is a treat to hear Moni Mohsin voice-act Butterfly Khan on her social media channels. I’m so used to listening to them that when I read the book, I could only hear Mohsin’s voice in my head as Butterfly. And believe me, that made a world of difference to my reading experience.

Even if the books themselves can’t be heard on audio, here’s an idea for the author and publisher if they are reading this: It would still make complete sense to have an audio book where Moni Mohsin voice-acts Butterfly out and about on her daily adventures, marking her place and position in Pakistan’s high society as the one with a good bagground.

A uniquely desi story from just across the border that strangely feels as much our own, this delicious dose of laughter has the right balance of sweet and extra spicy.

Between You, Me & the Four Walls: The Social Butterfly Bulletin by Moni Mohsin. Published in 2022 by Penguin Random House India.

Book 2 of 2023.

Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.

Available on Amazon*.

About Photo: She isn’t called the social butterfly for nothing. She is, after all, Pakistan’s most glam, sophisty, khaata-peeta social light.
This four-layered papercut butterfly is cut from 220gsm plain cardstock, and embellished with rhinestones to match up to Butterfly Khan’s style.
2. Between, You, Me & the Four Wallsb
About the Author: Moni Mohsin began her journalistic career at The Friday Times, Pakistan’s first weekly newspaper, where she started her long running, satirical column ‘The Diary of a Social Butterfly’. Now working as a freelancer, she writes on culture, politics, lifestyle, class and society. Her journalism has appeared in The Guardian, The Times of India, 1843, Vogue, The Nation and Prospect.
Moni Mohsin has written five works of fiction — three novels: The End of InnocenceThe Impeccable Integrity of Ruby R and Tender Hooks aka Duty Free; and two books of collected Butterfly columns: The Diary of a Social Butterfly and The Return of the Butterfly. This is the third book in the series.
She also hosts a comic podcast called Browned Off with editor and critic Faiza Khan in which they lift the lid on diversity — or the lack thereof! — in contemporary Western culture.
Born and raised in Pakistan, she now lives between London and Lahore. She is married and has two children.
You can find her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Follow her at Diary Of A Social Butterfly for more Butterfly updates.
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*Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.


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