The Reluctant Fundamentalist was the first book I’ve read by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, and it certainly won’t be the last. Although many years have passed since its writing, I think it is a book that will not lose its importance for years. AlthoughThe Reluctant Fundamentalist is a short book, this is a novel that can go deep into many different subjects.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist tells the story of Changez, a young man who leaves Pakistan to study at Princeton University and finishes first in his school. Since Changez graduated from one of the best schools in America with the first place, he has the opportunity to work in a very famous and successful company. He enjoys his job, the money he earns, and the city he lives in, New York.
And of course, as his relationship with Erica, whom he falls in love with almost as soon as he sees her, grows stronger, he thinks that his life is exactly as it should be and he is “happy”. At this young age, he confidently hangs out with New York’s elite. Then September 11 comes, and the tragedy in New York shakes the whole world.
The looks directed at him change immediately after this great event. Changez can’t get his family in Pakistan out of his mind, so he leaves everything behind and returns to his country. We listen to what they went through as he told an American person in a place in Lahore. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a book that will pull you in from the very first paragraph. Subject aside, I think Mohsin Hamid is an excellent author. I plan to read his books from now on. I recommend him wholeheartedly. Enjoy!
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
The internationally bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted portrait of a man caught between conflicting identities and betrayed by the world he has embraced – from the author of Exit West
Adapted as a major film starring Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland
‘Masterful . . . A poignant love story and a thriller that subtly ratchets up the nerve-jangling tension towards an explosive ending’ Metro
‘Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard. I am a lover of America . . . ‘
The Reluctant Fundamentalist: So speaks the mysterious stranger at a Lahore cafe as dusk settles. Invited to join him for tea, you learn his name and what led this speaker of immaculate English to seek you out. For he is more worldy than you might expect; better travelled and better educated. He knows the West better than you do. And as he tells you his story, of how he embraced the Western dream — and a Western woman — and how both betrayed him, so the night darkens. Then the true reason for your meeting becomes abundantly clear . . .
Challenging, mysterious and thrillingly tense, Mohsin Hamid’s masterly The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a vital read teeming with questions and ideas about some of the most pressing issues of today’s globalised, fractured world.
Mohsin Hamid was born in 1971 in Lahore, Pakistan, and moved to the US at the age of 18 to study at Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He then worked as a management consultant in New York, and later as a freelance journalist back in Lahore.
His first novel was Moth Smoke (2000), winner of a Betty Trask Award and shortlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Moth Smoke was made into a television mini-series in Pakistan and an operetta in Italy, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2000.
In 2007 his second novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, was published and shortlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. In 2008, it won the South Bank Show Annual Award for Literature and was shortlisted for the 2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region, Best Book) and the 2008 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction). A short story based on the novel was also published in The Paris Review in 2006.
Hamid’s third novel How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013) won the Tiziano Terzani International Literary Prize and was shortlisted for the KLF Embassy of France Prize and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt International Literature Award. His fourth novel, Exit West (2017), was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has also published a book of essays entitled Discontent and Its Civilisations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York & London (2014).
Mohsin Hamid now lives in London.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: