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Changez is in Manila on 9/11 and sees the towers come down on TV. He tells the American, "...I smiled. Yes, despicable as it may sound, my initial reaction was to be remarkably pleased... I was caught up in the symbolism of it all, the fact that someone had so visibly brought America to her knees..." When he returns to New York, there is a palpable change in attitudes toward him, starting right at immigration. His name and his face render him suspect.
Ongoing trouble between Pakistan and India urge Changez to return home for a visit, despite his parents' advice to stay where he is. While there, he realizes that he has changed in a way that shames him. "I was struck at first by how shabby our house appeared... I was saddened to find it in such a state... This was where I came from... and it smacked of lowliness." He exorcises that feeling and once again appreciates his home for its "unmistakable personality and idiosyncratic charm." While at home, he lets his beard grow. Advised to shave it, even by his mother, he refuses. It will be his line in the sand, his statement about who he is. His company sends him to Chile for another business valuation; his mind filled with the troubles in Pakistan and the U.S. involvement with India that keeps the pressure on. His work and the money he earns have been overtaken by resentment of the United States and all it stands for.
Hamid's prose is filled with insight, subtly delivered: "I felt my age: an almost childlike twenty-two, rather than that permanent middle-age that attaches itself to the man who lives alone and supports himself by wearing a suit in a city not of his birth." In telling of the janissaries, Christian boys captured by Ottomans and trained to be soldiers in the Muslim Army, his Chilean host tells him: "The janissaries were always taken in childhood. It would have been far more difficult to devote themselves to their adopted empire, you see, if they had memories they could not forget." Changez cannot forget, and Hamid makes the reader understand that--and all that follows. --Valerie Ryan
An unusual book, a very well written and engaging story quite unexpected twists.
I get the book, I feel like I understand what happened and what the author was trying to convey...but I guess I just don't get what all the fuss was about.
I bought the book after hearing a review of the movie, during which they praised the book, & I read it first.
A book about understanding and the lack of it.
A book about people and holding on to what makes us human.
A book about love and the inability to connect. Read more
I am drawn into Hamid's dark world always. His writing is superb and the cultural in your face of what is the hurry because I will tell you my tale in due course and in my own time... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Cheryl Packwood
This book written more or less as a monologue leaves one with many thoughts. Is there really a reluctant fundamentalist and who is it? Read morePublished 19 days ago by katbry
A really excellent book written from the perspective of a Pakistani who has gone to the USA to be educated but still perceives the USA as an outsider and presents his viewpoint as... Read morePublished 26 days ago by lindon wing
This is a great read. You will be thinking about it long after the readPublished 1 month ago by Mary
Mr. Hamid certainly writes passionately and persuasively, and gives the reader his side of things quite eloquently. Read morePublished 1 month ago by barbara french
This story (I wouldn't call it a book) hooked me right from the start. It's written in a dynamic and engaging mamma and I could not wait to see what would unfold next. Read morePublished 1 month ago by G. Khuchua
I enjoyed the book and the rather unique style of it being written in the third person as a a continuous ongoing narrative by the main character of the book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Deerfoot