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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.
Slow start, did not improve or get interesting and ended abruptly!!!
Waste of a couple of days and time I really wish I could get back
Interesting writing style! I enjoyed the book and the viewpoint from the Pakistani side.Published 9 days ago by Ruth Schack
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is set in Lahore, Pakistan. The narrator, Changez, begins by approaching an American man in a café in the district of Old Anarkali. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Martina A. Nicolls
Although probably not for everybody, I really enjoyed the way Hamid wrote you into another world. As the storyline develops and changes you feel yourself being transported! Read morePublished 27 days ago by Ciro
After reading a book, my first inclination is to write about it in order to understand it better.
Not this time.
The atmosphere did not seem right. Read more
Short and powerful. A fictionalized account of a bright, ambitious Pakistani who graduates from Princeton and goes to work on Wall Street just before the World Trade Center... Read morePublished 1 month ago by C. Coleman
Entertaining and thought provoking but marred by a strained narrative device ( the whole thing being told as a one way conversation from our narrator directed at a listener whose... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Seth Delackner
Well done integration of lost love and alienation with realistic dialog and passion.
Good description of food, society and history.
I would say 10% of the entire book was about being a "Reluctant Fundamentalist" the rest of the book was about the protagonist making it in the world.Published 1 month ago by RM