Saturday, December 31, 2011

Book 52: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

I had to read this book in a Theology class last year and I expected to hate it.  Fortunately my professor had excellent taste in books, and this proved to be a highlight of an otherwise pointless class.  I wasn’t sure that it would be able to hold my interest through a second reading but I was happily surprised again.

The story is set in Lahore, Pakistan where a young professor named Changez speaks to an uncomfortable American about his time living in New York.  Changez graduated from Princeton with top honors and quickly secured a job at Underwood Samson, a valuation firm, where he excels.  Before leaving school he went on a trip to Greece where he meets Erica, who he falls in love with.  Unfortunately Erica is not really ready for a relationship as she is still recovering from the death of her previous boyfriend.  This, compounded with the embarrassment that Changez has towards his changing attitude, creates an internal conflict that is heightened by the September 11th attacks and subsequent tensions in the US and Pakistan. 

I really don’t want to say anymore than that because the story moves quickly and I hate it when reviews give away too much.  The novel is short and tense; it’s almost impossible to put down.  Changez is the sole narrator; we don’t even get to really hear the questions that the American asks, they are just answered by Changez.  The other man is suggested to be part of a special ops mission and we never know which way the situation will resolve itself.  Altogether it’s a fascinating book, one that I can’t recommend enough.  

No comments:

Post a Comment