Mohsin Hamid’s Reluctant Fundamentalist
I went to Rabat to pick up my mail at the Fulbright office today, and I found several packages waiting for me. In the lot was a copy of Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which I started reading on the train back home. The story is told through a monologue by a young Pakistani man, sitting across from an American stranger in the Old Anarkali neighborhood of Lahore. I am enthralled by it so far, and hope it can deliver on its promise in the end.
Updated to say that I thought the second half of the book didn’t hold as well as the first half. Changez’s transformation from a successful analyst to a disgruntled slack is not earned, I’m afraid. It fits the plot, but doesn’t fit the character. I did like this book a lot, though, for other reasons. I could see the influence of Tayib Salih and Joseph Conrad, and if I were not so completely busy with my own novel, I think I would have written about The Reluctant Fundamentalist at great length.