The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

A first person narrative, a monologue……..two people sitting in a cafe in Lahore (Pakistan), but only one of them has a voice. Can this really work as a piece of fiction?

Reluctant fundamentalistUnsure myself as I read the early pages and chapters of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, but then I noticed I was gradually drawn in by the ‘one voice telling the story’ of a pro-Western Pakistani, called Changez, whose academic brilliance secured him a place at Princeton University, where he graduated sume cum laude, to then progress to becoming the star financial analyst for a prestigious firm in New York.

Throughout the narrative, we can hear him marvelling at this new (capitalist) world of the USA, where opportunity is there for the taking……..but then along came 9/11, and everything changed. And not just for the American nation. What changed for Changez was a sudden realisation that he was a foreigner in this land of promise, but back home in Pakistan (and neighbouring countries) the contours of daily life were undergoing volcanic change……..and it always seemed that the Americans were involved somewhere in the fray. His attitude to this land ‘flowing in milk and honey’ altered radically, but he had to divest himself of the capitalist robe and go back home to begin his own personal crusade.

This had been shortlisted for the Man Booker  prize in 2007, and deservedly so. It has recently been re-printed by Penguin Books, the cover showing scenes and characters from the recently released film.

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on June 14, 2013, in Book reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I thought this book was brilliantly done. Changez drew me in and kept me engaged throughout the book with his narration. I just loved Mohsin’s easy flowing style of writing and look forward to reading his next book.

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