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The Reluctant Fundamentalist [Paperback]

Mohsin Hamid
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 8 2008
The New York Times bestselling novel, Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Funamentalist is brilliant and powerful, and now a major motion picture!

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is the story of Changez, a young, Princeton-educated Pakistani who goes on to work at a prestigious financial analysis firm in New York City and falls in love with a woman from the upper echelons of New York society. He seems to have achieved the American dream--until 9/11 devastates the city. As the woman and city he loves suffer from new wounds and old scars, Changez finds that his place in society had shifted. With the world seemingly crumbling in front of him, Changez must decide where his true loyalties lie--with his adopted country or his homeland.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Hamid grabs hold of the American Dream as seen through the eyes of a young Princeton grad from Pakistan in a post-9/11 world. As the protagonist, Changez, finds moderate business success and romantic love in New York City, his heritage and identity will be lost in a sea of subtle and blatant bigotry as well as international politics. In relating this journey from loving to loathing of all things American, Changez speaks to a nameless and speechless American whom he encounters in the marketplace of his home city, Lahore, Pakistan. Bhabha's English-influenced Pakistani accent proves soothing and inviting for listeners. His gentle demeanor captures the courteous and polite manner of Changez. His American accent comes in the form of a Midwestern accent with a confident—almost arrogant—lilt. He lapses when it comes to vocalizing women. Though lighter, his voice exudes a stoic resonance instead of a feminine one. But the casual tone of Changez telling his life story translates perfectly with the help of Bhabha's velvet voice.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Presented in the form of a monologue, which is a difficult technique to manage in a novel because the author has to ensure plausibility while guarding against monotony, Hamid's second novel succeeds so well it begs the question--what other narrative format than a sustained monologue could have been as appropriate? Generally, this is a 9/11 novel or, rather, a post-9/11 one. But to see it on its own terms, which, because of its distinctive scenario, is impossible not to do, it eludes categorization. A young Pakistani man, educated at Princeton and employed in a highly prestigious financial-analysis firm in New York, was about to start a brilliant career and had fallen for a young woman whose commitment to him, it must be admitted, was partial and elusive when the terrorist attacks occurred. Answering to his own conscience, he could not remain in the U.S. By the pull of his true personal identity, he must return to Pakistan, despite his reluctance to leave the enigmatic but beguiling young woman behind. From the perspective of a few years later, the young man relates his American experiences to an American man he meets in a cafe, whose visit to Lahore may or may not have to do with the young man's recent anti-American activities. This novel's firm, steady, even beautiful voice proclaims the completeness of the soul when personal and global issues are conjoined. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and brilliant book May 31 2008
This book is a brilliant presentation of a personal moral position reflecting a complex political situation from the perspective of one single human being, who narrates throughout - a difficult technical achievement which the author brings off very well.
The previous review exposes some strands of this narrative but draws conclusions from it that not all may share, and for me underplays the uncertainty of outcome at the story's conclusion. I would also add that in a subtle way the book presents a richness of cultural perspective that is powerfully influential and extends the book beyond either the personal or the political realms.
The ambiguity that is woven into this book is one of its major strengths. There are no certainties - personal, political or moral - and this is a book for those who wish to make up their own minds in a world which is frequently presented to us with clear rights and wrongs. If you think that you know the answer to fundamentalism, you don't understand the problem
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking but exciting Nov. 25 2010
By Helen
The story line is exciting and the first person narration makes it unusual as well. Reminds me of analyzing poetry. However, we, of the western world should try to understand the mind change of the speaker as he continues his dialogue. At the end is the question of "what happened?" but also "why ?".The Reluctant Fundamentalist
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anti or Pro US - I still don't know July 31 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book's engaging style of talking to an unidentified listener is provocative. It provides a good look at the subtle discrimination that exists in the US (and elsewhere) for an exemplary foreign student and how it leads him to return to his home country. But under what circumstances? The reader must confront the realities of the protagonist's experiences and determine the degree to which validity exists for his actions taken. It is a brief but thoughtful telling of life in the global world. Will it ever be possible to mix cultures satisfactorily?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping April 17 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The writing style is new. The story telling is gripping. It is one of these books that makes you think long after you've put it down. Many immigrants may relate to the fundamental questions of "Do I fit in; Do others see me as an outsider; have I sold my home country out?"
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Reluctant Fundamentalist Mohsin Hamid June 7 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This short novel can be read in an afternoon. Fast paced and riveting, this novel skillfully presents another point of view on war, this time from that of the less powerful. Highly recommend Robert Adams youtube presentation as an adjunct to the novel. Great book! Food for thought.
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By dumbell
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Always good to read an author who chooses the perfect word to create the atmosphere, mood and emotion relevant at that moment. The idea of an entire book written as a one way conversation is unusual but works,
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2.0 out of 5 stars lousy ending Nov. 11 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I dislike inconclusive endings and this book left me guessing as to the outcome of events . Not so good.
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