The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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9780141029542: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

At a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with a suspicious and possibly armed American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful meeting.Changez is living an immigrant's dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by Underwood Samson, an elite firm that specializes in the valuation of companies ripe for acquisition. He thrives on the energy of New York. But in the wake of 9/11, he finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned. And Changez's own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and perhaps even love.

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Review:

Mohsin Hamid's first novel, Moth Smoke, dealt with the confluence of personal and political themes, and his second, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, revisits that territory in the person of Changez, a young Pakistani. Told in a single monologue, the narrative never flags. Changez is by turns naive, sinister, unctuous, mildly threatening, overbearing, insulting, angry, resentful, and sad. He tells his story to a nameless, mysterious American who sits across from him at a Lahore cafe. Educated at Princeton, employed by a first-rate valuation firm, Changez was living the American dream, earning more money than he thought possible, caught up in the New York social scene and in love with a beautiful, wealthy, damaged girl. The romance is negligible; Erica is emotionally unavailable, endlessly grieving the death of her lifelong friend and boyfriend, Chris.

Changez is in Manila on 9/11 and sees the towers come down on TV. He tells the American, "...I smiled. Yes, despicable as it may sound, my initial reaction was to be remarkably pleased... I was caught up in the symbolism of it all, the fact that someone had so visibly brought America to her knees..." When he returns to New York, there is a palpable change in attitudes toward him, starting right at immigration. His name and his face render him suspect.

Ongoing trouble between Pakistan and India urge Changez to return home for a visit, despite his parents' advice to stay where he is. While there, he realizes that he has changed in a way that shames him. "I was struck at first by how shabby our house appeared... I was saddened to find it in such a state... This was where I came from... and it smacked of lowliness." He exorcises that feeling and once again appreciates his home for its "unmistakable personality and idiosyncratic charm." While at home, he lets his beard grow. Advised to shave it, even by his mother, he refuses. It will be his line in the sand, his statement about who he is. His company sends him to Chile for another business valuation; his mind filled with the troubles in Pakistan and the U.S. involvement with India that keeps the pressure on. His work and the money he earns have been overtaken by resentment of the United States and all it stands for.

Hamid's prose is filled with insight, subtly delivered: "I felt my age: an almost childlike twenty-two, rather than that permanent middle-age that attaches itself to the man who lives alone and supports himself by wearing a suit in a city not of his birth." In telling of the janissaries, Christian boys captured by Ottomans and trained to be soldiers in the Muslim Army, his Chilean host tells him: "The janissaries were always taken in childhood. It would have been far more difficult to devote themselves to their adopted empire, you see, if they had memories they could not forget." Changez cannot forget, and Hamid makes the reader understand that--and all that follows. --Valerie Ryan


A Conversation with Mohsin Hamid
Set in modern-day Pakistan, Mohsin Hamid's debut novel, Moth Smoke, went on to win awards and was listed as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His bold new novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, is a daring, fast-paced monologue of a young Pakistani man telling his life story to a mysterious American stranger. It's a controversial look at the dark side of the American Dream, exploring the aftermath of 9/11, international unease, and the dangerous pull of nostalgia. Amazon.com senior editor Brad Thomas Parsons shared an e-mail exchange with Mohsin Hamid to talk about his powerful new book

Read the Amazon.com Interview with Mohsin Hamid



Book Description:

Published in hardcover by Harcourt, 2007, 978-0-15-101304-3/0-15-101304-7

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Mohsin Hamid
Published by Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom (2009)
ISBN 10: 0141029544 ISBN 13: 9780141029542
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is Mohsin Hamid s thrillingly provocative international bestseller Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2007 Now a major film directed by Mira Nair and starring Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard. I am a lover of America . So speaks the mysterious stranger at a Lahore cafe as dusk settles. Invited to join him for tea, you learn his name and what led this speaker of immaculate English to seek you out. For he is more worldy than you might expect; better travelled and better educated. He knows the West better than you do. And as he tells you his story, of how he embraced the Western dream -- and a Western woman -- and how both betrayed him, so the night darkens. Then the true reason for your meeting becomes abundantly clear .Challenging, mysterious and thrillingly tense, Mohsin Hamid s masterly The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a vital read teeming with questions and ideas about some of the most pressing issues of today s globalised, fractured world. Masterful .A multi-layered and thoroughly gripping book, which works as a poignant love story, a powerful dissection of how US imperialist machinations have turned so many people against the world s superpower - and as a thriller that subtly ratchets up the nerve-jangling tension towards an explosive ending Metro Beautifully written . .more exciting than any thriller I ve read for a long time Philip Pullman A brilliant book Kiran Desai Admirably spare and amazingly exciting Rachel Cooke, New Statesman Mohsin Hamid is the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Moth Smoke and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, received numerous awards, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has contributed essays and short stories to publications such as the Guardian, The New York Times, Financial Times, Granta, and Paris Review. Born and mostly raised in Lahore, he spent part of his childhood in California, studied at Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and has since lived between Lahore, London, and New York. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141029542

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid, "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" is Mohsin Hamid's thrillingly provocative international bestseller. It is shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2007. Now a major film directed by Mira Nair and starring Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland. 'Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard. I am a lover of America.' So speaks the mysterious stranger at a Lahore cafe as dusk settles. Invited to join him for tea, you learn his name and what led this speaker of immaculate English to seek you out. For he is more worldy than you might expect; better travelled and better educated. He knows the West better than you do. And as he tells you his story, of how he embraced the Western dream - and a Western woman - and how both betrayed him, so the night darkens. Then the true reason for your meeting becomes abundantly clear.Challenging, mysterious and thrillingly tense, Mohsin Hamid's masterly "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" is a vital read teeming with questions and ideas about some of the most pressing issues of today's globalised, fractured world. "Masterful.A multi-layered and thoroughly gripping book, which works as a poignant love story, a powerful dissection of how US imperialist machinations have turned so many people against the world's superpower - and as a thriller that subtly ratchets up the nerve-jangling tension towards an explosive ending". ("Metro"). "Beautifully written .more exciting than any thriller I've read for a long time". (Philip Pullman). "A brilliant book". (Kiran Desai). "Admirably spare and amazingly exciting". (Rachel Cooke, "New Statesman"). Mohsin Hamid is the author of "The Reluctant Fundamentalist", "Moth Smoke" and "How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia". His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, received numerous awards, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has contributed essays and short stories to publications such as the "Guardian", "The New York Times", "Financial Times", "Granta", and "Paris Review". Born and mostly raised in Lahore, he spent part of his childhood in California, studied at Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and has since lived between Lahore, London, and New York. Bookseller Inventory # B9780141029542

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is Mohsin Hamid s thrillingly provocative international bestseller Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2007 Now a major film directed by Mira Nair and starring Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard. I am a lover of America . So speaks the mysterious stranger at a Lahore cafe as dusk settles. Invited to join him for tea, you learn his name and what led this speaker of immaculate English to seek you out. For he is more worldy than you might expect; better travelled and better educated. He knows the West better than you do. And as he tells you his story, of how he embraced the Western dream -- and a Western woman -- and how both betrayed him, so the night darkens. Then the true reason for your meeting becomes abundantly clear .Challenging, mysterious and thrillingly tense, Mohsin Hamid s masterly The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a vital read teeming with questions and ideas about some of the most pressing issues of today s globalised, fractured world. Masterful .A multi-layered and thoroughly gripping book, which works as a poignant love story, a powerful dissection of how US imperialist machinations have turned so many people against the world s superpower - and as a thriller that subtly ratchets up the nerve-jangling tension towards an explosive ending Metro Beautifully written . .more exciting than any thriller I ve read for a long time Philip Pullman A brilliant book Kiran Desai Admirably spare and amazingly exciting Rachel Cooke, New Statesman Mohsin Hamid is the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Moth Smoke and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, received numerous awards, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has contributed essays and short stories to publications such as the Guardian, The New York Times, Financial Times, Granta, and Paris Review. Born and mostly raised in Lahore, he spent part of his childhood in California, studied at Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and has since lived between Lahore, London, and New York. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141029542

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