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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.
Great book that shows how the other side was affected negatively after 9/11.
Pakistanis often get mistreated, misjudged and disrespected for the mistake of a particular group.
Remarkable unique structure for the narrative and very literary.Published 23 hours ago by Veny Cruz
He didn't sound like a "reluctant" fundamentalist to me. He made me very angry, and I am pretty liberal in my religious thinking. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Joann Ellis
At a café in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man corners an American with a beseeching question, “Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Read morePublished 2 days ago by Biswajit Dey
Hard for me to talk about how I feel about the book without spoiling it, so I'll just say that Hamid is a very gifted writer writing from a place of deep knowledge and love. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Lori
This was indeed a short story. Found the style of writing, and the subject matter compelling. The Author's story telling ability, and the readability of this book make it a good... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
This novel is one character's narrative. There is no dialogue. Other characters do not speak. And yet, it is one of the more compelling reads I've encountered in a long time. Read morePublished 4 days ago by P. M. Dionne