The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Hamid, Mohsin

Book - 2007
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
At a café table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful meeting . . . Changez is living an immigrant's dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by the elite "valuation" firm of Underwood Samson. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his infatuation with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore. But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned, and his budding relationship with Erica eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez's own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.

Publisher: Orlando : Harcourt, c2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780151013043
Characteristics: 184 p. ;,22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Anisfield-Wolf Collection


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Feb 01, 2015
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Changez, a young Pakistani, happens upon an American in Lahore, invites him to tea and tells him the story of his life in the months before and after the 9/11 attacks. That monologue is the substance of this elegant and chilling little novel.

Dec 06, 2014
  • Lucky_Luke rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It shows the mechanism of radicalization, when you belong to the wrong, race, ethnic group or religion; from pain of not fitting in to anger at those who refuse to see more to people than the racial profile; smart, provocative and offers lot of food for thought.

May 31, 2014
  • gemini07 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I thoroughly enjoyed the style of writing. The layers of hidden meanings of what the author means by "Fundamentalist", sets one to pondering.

Apr 11, 2014
  • marydave rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Unlike anything I've ever read in my 60+ years of wide reading in 3 languages. I think I might finally have a glimpse inside the fundamentalist mind. Current reading of "Ruins of Empire" is a good follow-up.

Dec 30, 2013
  • DanglingConversations rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Compelling read with cliff hanger ending. Highlights American culpability in its foreign policy and sublimated xenophobia.

Aug 22, 2013

Read this book and then you must see the extraordinary film directed by Mira Nair, also titled The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Both the book and the novel force us to think beyond the great American success story of family wealth or immigrant success to examine what happens to the soul of those who are blighted by what they are born into or what compromises they make to gain wealth and approval. Both the book and the film are haunting and brilliant.

Dec 29, 2012
  • bookwormjeph rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

thoroughly enjoyable and quite scary in aspects of just how a certain situation can have such a profound and devastating effect on a person. It is written in an unusual style to in the way it links the past narrative with the present day reality.

Dec 26, 2012
  • Jane60201 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent commentary on how nationals of other countries feel about America without the overbearing feeling of political science tomes.

Oct 18, 2012
  • Pisinga rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

5 Stars because this is a quick and easy read. Subject, of course, it's very controversial and this book can be seen as full of hate for everything American.
But I think that the main thing in this book - an idea against the war, against the resumptuousness towards "third world" from the "all-powerful", against racism, against the "punishment" of all population of a country just because of the terrible acts of some individuals from that country. But, again, opinions of the main character, and I think of writer, about some things he tries to resist - related to the material prosperity of capitalist America, its desire to be "the ruling hand" of the world, despite the fact that the history of America is very short, compared with the history of many countries against which its military operations are directed. But at the same time, the the main character is not very different from those he accuses and condemns. If it were not for the tragedy of September 11, I am confident that he, like many others with a similar fate, would have lived and thrived in the same America.

Apr 04, 2012
  • mprimom rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A brillant book, well written. Keeps you interested til the end!

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Jul 11, 2014
  • Liber_vermis rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"... she was utterly detached, lost in a world of her own. Her eyes were turned inward, and remarks made by her companions would register only indirectly on her face, like the shadows of clouds gliding across the surface of a lake." (p. 86)


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