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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
Oh my! This book is so good. It says the unthinkables. Perspective? Give me a break! This is the perspective that dare not speak it's name. Writing is sublime. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Marjorie Hewitt
I really enjoyed this story. It really opened my eyes to the Afghanistan/ Pakistan conflict. We learn so much from others.Published 7 days ago by Mommysbusy03
Without having read the book, most of us would assume the fundamentalist in the title refers to someone who’s a religious fanatic, most likely of Muslim persuasion. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Evy
Some surprises there, a different perspective. Kind of," Walk a mile in my shoes" theme, I liked it.Published 18 days ago by Michael D. Clark
This is a novel about what it means to be an other, an outsider; it's a fictional character's glimpse of America from the outside in. I enjoyed it.Published 1 month ago by Brian P Tanguay
I enjoyed this book. It was well written and flowed well..... however, it is very narrow in its scope. Read morePublished 1 month ago by T. Jansen
A gripping book. Unexpectedly to my liking...and more. It was suggested as a book club choice, and I 'had doubts'. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Twinkle