Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Initially reviewed here on 18/04/2008

Author: Mohsin Hamid
As part of the Orbis Terrarum challenge I picked up this book first, though it was not on the top of my list and am glad I did. It's one of the most interesting books I've read so far. A very short one, just about 180pages and something that you got to read in one sitting to really follow and enjoy the plot. You just cant put the book down till the end 'coz every page u read makes u want to read further to know what happens, till u reach the end. This is one such book that you should read before reading any of the reviews. Because even a one-liner on what the book is about is going to spoil your whole experience. So if you are planning to read this book at any point, then warning - *do not read the next paragraph *

I loved the way the author has written this book 'coz I found his style of expression very unique. The whole book is complete first person narration; a pakistani talking to a stranger from America about his experiences in the US of A and how his life changes after the World Trade Center comes down. The main character, Changez, has gone to America for higher studies, graduates from Princeton and joins one of the top financial firms in the US. He falls in love with an American girl - Erica and their love story, built amidst the growing tension between US/Afghanistan/Pakistan, is something that really touches your heart. The author's command over language and the way he has played with words is just awesome. The way he takes you back and forth, between the past and the present, in his narration is downright amazing. I feel, in a monologue, it is very tough to keep the reader's attention and curiosity alive thru out the book and the author has done it really well.
The ending is something that I really loved, coz it is not perfect, it keeps u thinking what really could have happened! Sensitive topics like the war between Afghanistan and US after the WTC bombing, the perception of the US in middle east and other parts of the world and the plight of a lot of people who were part of this disaster, are described in a subtle yet thought provoking way. The emotions are complex and the characters are something that you will not forget as soon as you finish the book... Overall, a very nice read and really worth it.So, my book for the month is done :) Before I pick up one more for the next month, which is most probably "Reading Lolita in Tehran", I have a couple of other ones to finish... one of which is Shantaram :)

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