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.
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*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 HooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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