Reluctant Fundamentalist (1st Edition)

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9780143064244: Reluctant Fundamentalist (1st Edition)

At a café table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an American stranger. As dusk deepens to dark, he begins the tale that has brought him to this fateful meeting . . . Among the brightest and best of his graduating class at Princeton, Changez is snapped up by Underwood and Samson, an elite firm that specializes in -valuation' of companies ripe for acquisition. He thrives on New York and the intensity of his work, and his infatuation with the beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore. But in the wake of September 11, he finds his position in the city he loves suddenly overturned, and his budding relationship with Erica eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez's own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental thanmoney, power, and perhaps even love.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a riveting and devastating exploration of our divided and yet ultimately indivisible world, with echoes of Fitzgerald and Camus. -Mohsin Hamid's exceptionally taut and gripping novel gently explores the fault lines between the American West and the Islamic East. Hamid seems to have pulled off the near impossible. This is a meditative novel written in an introspective manner-but this is also a deeply suspenseful work, the sense of anticipation heightened by Hamid's wonderful use of restraint'"Mukund Padmanabhan in The Hindu -A brilliant book. With spooky restraint and masterful control, Hamid unpicks the underpinnings of the most recent episode of distrust between East and West. But his book does not merely excel in capturing a developing bitterness. The narrative is balanced by a love as powerful as the sinister forces gathering, even when it recedes into a phantom of hope. It is this balance, and the constant negotiation of the political with the personal, that creates a nuanced and complex portrait of a reluctant fundamentalist'"Kiran Desai, author of The Inheritance of Loss -A quietly told, cleverly constructed fable of infatuation and disenchantment with America-astute cultural observation at which Hamid excels. An intelligent, highly engaging piece of work'" James Lasdun in The Guardian.

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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



From the Back Cover:

SHORT-LISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZEAt a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful encounter Changez is living an immigrant s dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by the elite valuation firm of Underwood Samson. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his budding romance with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore.But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned and his relationship with Erica eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love. "The Reluctant Fundamentalist "is a riveting, brilliantly unsettling exploration of the shadowy, unexpected connections between the political and the personal. "Taut and accomplished."--" San Francisco Chronicle" "Slender, smart, and subversive."--"Entertainment Weekly" A "NEW YORK TIMES" NOTABLE BOOKMOHSIN HAMID grew up in Lahore, Pakistan, and attended Princeton and Harvard. His first novel, "Moth Smoke, " was a Betty Trask Award winner, a PEN/Hemingway Award finalist, and a "New York Times "Notable Book of the Year. His writing has also appeared in "Time, "the "New York Times, " and other publications. He lives in London.Discussion guide inside and at www.HarcourtBooks.com.Visit www.ReluctantFundamentalist.com.STEP-BACK PAGE: "Elegant and chilling."--"The New York Times Book Review" [A] resounding success." "The Village Voice""" Brilliantly written. "The Seattle Times""" Hamid s style is delightfully distinct . . . [He] has done something extraordinary. "The Washington Post""""[A] lucid, unsettling novel."--"The New Yorker" "An unsettling novel for unsettling times."--"The San Diego Union-Tribune" "

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Book Description Penguin Books India, 2008. Softcover. Book Condition: New. At a café table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an American stranger. As dusk deepens to dark, he begins the tale that has brought him to this fateful meeting . . . Among the brightest and best of his graduating class at Princeton,Changez is snapped up by Underwood and Samson, an elite firm thatspecializes in ?valuation? of companies ripe for acquisition. He thriveson New York and the intensity of his work, and his infatuation withthe beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the sameexalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore. But inthe wake of September 11, he finds his position in the city he lovessuddenly overturned, and his budding relationship with Erica eclipsedby the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez?s own identity isin seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental thanmoney, power, and perhaps even love. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a riveting and devastating exploration of our divided and yet ultimately indivisible world, withechoes of Fitzgerald and Camus. ?Mohsin Hamid?s exceptionally taut and gripping novel gently explores the fault lines between the American West and the Islamic East. Hamid seems to have pulled off the near impossible. This is a meditative novel written in an introspective manner?but this is also a deeply suspenseful work, the sense of anticipation heightened by Hamid?s wonderful use of restraint??Mukund Padmanabhan in The Hindu ?A brilliant book. With spooky restraint and masterful control, Hamid unpicks the underpinnings of the most recent episode of distrust between East and West. But his book does not merely excel in capturing a developing bitterness. The narrative is balanced by a love as powerful as the sinister forces gathering, even when it recedes into a phantom of hope. It is this balance, and the constant negotiation of the political with the personal, that creates a nuanced and complex portrait of a reluctant fundamentalist??Kiran Desai, author of The Inheritance of Loss ?A quietly told, cleverly constructed fable of infatuation and disenchantment with America?astute cultural observation at which Hamid excels. An intelligent, highly engaging piece of work?? James Lasdun in The Guardian Printed Pages: 0. Bookseller Inventory # 21224

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Book Description Penguin Books India, 2008. Softcover. Book Condition: New. At a cafà table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an American stranger. As dusk deepens to dark, he begins the tale that has brought him to this fateful meeting . . . Among the brightest and best of his graduating class at Princeton,Changez is snapped up by Underwood and Samson, an elite firm thatspecializes in ‘valuation’ of companies ripe for acquisition. He thriveson New York and the intensity of his work, and his infatuation withthe beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the sameexalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore. But inthe wake of September 11, he finds his position in the city he lovessuddenly overturned, and his budding relationship with Erica eclipsedby the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez’s own identity isin seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental thanmoney, power, and perhaps even love. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a riveting and devastating exploration of our divided and yet ultimately indivisible world, withechoes of Fitzgerald and Camus. ‘Mohsin Hamid’s exceptionally taut and gripping novel gently explores the fault lines between the American West and the Islamic East. Hamid seems to have pulled off the near impossible. This is a meditative novel written in an introspective manner…but this is also a deeply suspenseful work, the sense of anticipation heightened by Hamid’s wonderful use of restraint’â€"Mukund Padmanabhan in The Hindu ‘A brilliant book. With spooky restraint and masterful control, Hamid unpicks the underpinnings of the most recent episode of distrust between East and West. But his book does not merely excel in capturing a developing bitterness. The narrative is balanced by a love as powerful as the sinister forces gathering, even when it recedes into a phantom of hope. It is this balance, and the constant negotiation of the political with the personal, that creates a nuanced and complex portrait of a reluctant fundamentalist’â€"Kiran Desai, author of The Inheritance of Loss ‘A quietly told, cleverly constructed fable of infatuation and disenchantment with America…astute cultural observation at which Hamid excels. An intelligent, highly engaging piece of work’â€" James Lasdun in The Guardian Printed Pages: 0. Bookseller Inventory # 21224

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