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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
Compelling and thoughtful reading. It is a page turner with a much deeper philosophical purpose. Highly recommended.Published 3 days ago by Avid reader
This was required reading for a class I took. I did enjoy the book, but it's not something that I would have picked up if I didn't have to.Published 10 days ago by GKNYC
It was an interesting journey and the content itself interesting. BUT found the one sided dialogue style childish and tiresome. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Team Awesomeness
This is one of my favorite movies and I couldn't believe how much I disliked the book. It was boring. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Amanda Bingham
I did not know what to expect when I began this book but it grabbed my attention from the first page and didn't let up until the last--and what a last page it was. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Kathleen Valentine
Ok, not as interesting as I expected, I found the first person perspective a bit irritating, the ending was good.Published 29 days ago by Mrs. C. F. Watson
This book is brilliant ... a real insight. Everyone should read itPublished 1 month ago by michelle mcdonald