Book 999 Mohsin Hamid – The Reluctant Fundamentalist

After the rather disappointing DeLillo, I was pleased at the fact that the next book is one that I enjoyed thoroughly Not only is it insightful and somewhat touching but it kept me hooked from the first page .

Changez is a Pakastani recounting the story of his post university life to a stranger in a cafe. He begins by saying how he was hired by an prestigious company that does risk assessing to business proposals. From there onwards the story takes a life on it’s own.

As Changez is becoming more successful in his job he begins to embark on a relationship with Erica, an American, who does have a lot of baggage with her but at this stage the relationship bodes well. Due to this high point in life Changez truly believes that he is an American and is infatuated by the country.

That is until the 9/11 disaster.

After this incident Changez starts to ponder about his race and whether he is a misfit in the U.S. While this is happening he starts to slacken job-wise, and his relationship with Erica starts to disentegrate. Eventually this all leads to out anti hero returning to his homeland, his love affair with America has vanished completely and the book ends on a dour note.

Hamid’s writing style is very precise and is completely without fat, which makes the book very readable. Also as a foreigner who lived in Canada for a very long 14 years I can understand Changez love/hate affair with America. Hamid truly gets into te mind of his characters and his eye for the workings of the human mind in a foreign are spot on. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a small literary triumph