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.
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.
A very interesting insight into a Pakastani's life in New York at the time of the World Trade Center bombings. This book is written as a conversation so it flows and is a fairly fast read. I would recommend it to all as it is a point of view that most Americans will ever see. I will say, however, that the end left me a little confused.
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 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.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid is an incredible, mind altering story filled with ominous suspense, and an attentive outside view of America.
The story is told in an interesting way, narrated by Changez to an American acquaintance while sitting at a café in Lahore. I both liked and disliked this style of storytelling. In the beginning I had a difficult time connecting with the characters, but that changed as I came to the middle and end of the story. The conversational tone made the book quick and easy to read.
Changez tells his story of attending college in America and excelling in the corporate world. After 9/11, though, his life in the US begins to unravel as he feels torn between his roots in Pakistan and his new life in America. All the while, Changez engages in a doomed love affair with Erica, this golden girl drowning in her love for her dead boyfriend.
I feel as though the relationship Changez had with Erica was a metaphor for his relationship with America and being American. He fell fast and hard, quickly becoming a part of her world. He accompanied her to many events and parties and was accepted easily, but still felt like an outsider on some level. After 9/11 she withdrew from him, making him less a part of her world and then shutting him out altogether. She longed for something that was no longer attainable; Changez longed to feel a part of her world again, even if that meant pretending to be someone he wasnt.
I loved seeing America through Changezs eyes. I thought that reading this book wouldnt alter my perspective too much because Im a fan of novels set in the Middle East. I thought my perspectives had been changed a long while ago. In the story, Changez talks about how little America experiences the effects of war at home. War isnt fought on our soil. We dont fear for our lives and our safety everyday like so many other people around the world. Changezs home country of Pakistan was NOT at war with America or Afghanistan, yet they felt the impact much more deeply than we did as Americans. In this way, my view of the world has been profoundly altered. I would recommend this book if only just for the new outlook.
A really outstanding view from a Pakistani after 9/11. A page turner.
The first-person stream-of-consciousness style is unsettling at first, but once this book grabs you, it doesn't let go. I read most of it in one day. It's like an intricate game of chess played skilfully to the end.
This is a one person narration from a Pakistani male to presumably an American male. The conversation takes place in the course of an afternoon to an evening but spans the narrators recent history. Its a dialogue about trust/mistrust and much more. Truly thought provoking and a very simple read.
I was living in NYC on 9/11 and reading this one so close to its eighth anniversary was very painful. The first person narration didn't work for me, and I was revolted that the character smiled while watching footage on television of the Twin Towers falling and felt remarkably pleased. I should have given up at that point, but I kept reading based on the terrific reviews that this book has generated. Can't say that it was worth my time.
A quick read but I couldn't put it down. A man from Pakistan talks of his life in America before and after 9/11. A must read.
I liked this book. It's thought provoking, engaging and a quick read. Having said that, I did not feel any sympathy for the main character. He acted as if American schools are obligated to educate more foreign students. He seemed simultaneously disdainful, yet envious of our lifestyle.
Interesting and off to a promising start, it was a bit disappointing based on the reviews. I expected more.
This is a quick read. It is interesting enough, perhaps thought provoking in some ways, but I found myself resenting the main character's ungrateful attitude and anti-American views, especially after all the education, opportunities and friendship given him during his time in America. I can understand it being on someone's 1,001 books to read list, but it would never be on mine.
'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' is a creative, original and suspenseful story in which the personal and political dovetail perfectly. Although it had been on my TBR list for some time, I picked the book up noncommittally as I was deciding what to read next, then was halfway finished before I realized it.
I hope more people will read this story. That said, it's definitely not for the blindly patriotic, and if we practiced censorship in the US, this book probably wouldn't be available.
A quick read, with a nice conversational tone. I didn't care for the ending.
I just couldn't get excited about someone who felt he was entitled to be in the "right" groups and upset that he lost his access to them.
very interesting, suspenseful book. both my husband and i liked it very much.