The Reluctant Fundamentalist


Despite the cover sound-byte from Philip Pullman, Mohsin Hamid's newest book is well worth the attention of anyone interested in good writing.

It is unique: I can think of nothing to compare it to. However, some of its thematic elements are distantly related to V.S. Naipal's A Bend in the River and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness to which there is a direct reference in the text.

The story is told as a first person narration of the main character, Changez to an unnamed American who is visiting Pakistan for reasons unknown. As the narration unfolds we learn that Changez came to the United States to attend Princeton. Upon graduating he lands an really fine job with a very exclusive firm and an American girlfriend. And then--9/11, a date that substantially translates Changez's notion of who he is.

The story is deeply personal and highly involving. The language is simple, a long loop of narration that makes one wonder if the man ever shuts up--there is patter for everything--and yet, even so, one does not wish for him to be quiet. The story reveals the core of nationalistic feelings that we sometimes don't even know we have and it shows in quite a different light our own feelings and actions in the present day. Not necessarily so much an indictment, but a personal view, the book is likely to anger some. For me, it was a window into a world I have never even thought about.

And most interesting of all, is the "fundamentalism" of the book. I dare not say more because it would deprive you of one of the pleasure and one of the essential themes of the work--the dual "heart of darkness" at work in the narrative.

For those interested in good writing, a compelling story, and insight into one view of what happened 9/11 and subsequently, I couldn't recommend a better, faster read.

Highly recommended for all.

Bookmark and Share



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 22, 2007 7:45 AM.

Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To was the previous entry in this blog.

Reading List is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll