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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
Mohsin Hamid's novel told a great story which offered an interesting perspective on the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the impact they had on American... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Erin
This was a story I sat down to read and didn't move until I had finished it. The ending was perfect and led toy a lot of discussion with others. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Diane S
Only one speaker tells the wistful story of his American experience to a traveler. Couldn't stick with it. Read a third and put it down. Maybe another reader could tell you more. Read morePublished 12 days ago by booklover
an important book focusing on the relationship between the people and politics of the u.s. and the greater middle east, particularly muslims. Read morePublished 15 days ago by brigid s. quinn
This is a well-written book. However, I found it very disturbing as it became increasingly sinister. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Jacqueline S. Guttman
Riveting and quick, I enjoyed it. It's hot some really punchy sentences that certainly left me nodding in incredulous agreement.Published 1 month ago by Nephat Kipkoech Maritim
After Moth Smoke, I was half-way to becoming a Mohsin Hamad fan. You know what happened next.Published 1 month ago by aiess alonso