Nadeem Farooq Paracha's quest to explore various questions of identity in the nation-state of Pakistan continues. In this sixth book of his, The Reluctant Republic, he ventures even deeper to investigate the history of statist-nationalist narratives in Pakistan and how the country's diverse ethnic, sectarian and sub-sectarian groups responded to these narratives. Paracha posits that statist experiments in this context have largely failed to build a cohesive and confident nation-state which is always in fear of coming apart. As is often the case in his books, parallel to investigating the faultlines that crisscross Pakistan's existence as a nation-state, Paracha simultaneously weaves a counter-narrative. He challenges and deconstructs the statist narratives to provide a constructive alternative to experiments and narratives that have been unable to shape a unified and progressive nation-state but continue being repeated with minor modifications. Paracha builds a compelling case to conclude that the state of Pakistan must come to terms with the fact that the formulation of a civic-nationalism - or a nationalism based on a nation of diverse 'micro-nations' joined to an integrated economy rather than to a dominant ethnic group or a specific faith - is the country's only way out of the vicious cycle it seems to be stuck in. A cycle that weakens the resolve and structure of the nation-state every time it completes one futile rotation after another.