Don't let the title fool you. I had to read this book for my book group and I thought it would be a dry tedious book. It's not. It's a short book so I planned to read a couple of chapters then go back to reading another book, but I couldn't put it down. I finished it in an afternoon. The format is a bit unusual. The main character, a Pakistani, relates his experiences before, during, and after 9/11 to an unnamed American visiting his home town.
A quick read, written in the style of a (very one-sided) conversation. I found it easier to follow because it's exactly like listening to an oral story. Hamid's young hero has a very clear voice. It is interesting to listen to him tell about life before and after 9/11 in New York and Princeton and Pakistan. The story holds elements of romance and drama. Anyone with interest in international perspectives of America will also be interested.
Very unusual; narrated by a Pakistani who lived and worked in NY prior to and after 9/11. Different perspective of American life, to be sure... The ending leaves you guessing until the last second--and then continues to leave you guessing.
In The Reluctant Fundamentalist Changez, a young Pakistani man, tells you (the American reader) the story of how he became an American then went home again. After graduating from Princeton, Changez gets a prestigious position with a firm that values companies in preparation for their sales. He earns a decent salary, the respect of his colleagues, and falls in love with an American woman.
After 9/11, things begin to fall apart for Changez. He experiences anti-Arab backlash from 9/11 and (perhaps even worse)overly-PC and almost condescending sensitivity towards him as a Pakistani. When problems in Pakistan affecting his family become too distracting and his romance with Erica, the American girl, comes to a dead end, Changez is forced to reexamine the person he has become.
Although this book is a quick read, it is very insightful. The honesty of the narrator reveals how complicated it can be to have conflicting allegiances.
In an era of paranoia about Middle Easteners, this book strikes a very familiar note. Novels in the second person are relatively rare, and Hamid uses this technique most effectively to have the reader identify with the unnamed partner in a dialogue/monologue that becomes increasingly chilling. I think this is a prime candidate for book club discussions and strongly recommend it.