The focus of this short novel is a conversation between a bearded Pakistani man and an American man he has just met, which takes place during the course of one evening in a Lahore café. In his mesmerizing monologue, Changez describes his life: education at Princeton, job at a high-powered finance firm in New York, the love of his life, and what brought him back to Pakistan.
A unique post-9/11 novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a page-turner without resorting to plot devices. Well-written and thought-provoking, the novel is more subtle than its title suggests, dealing less with the political, religious, and sociological reasons behind Islamic fundamentalism than with the disillusionment of youth and issues of cultural identity.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
Mohsin Hamid grew up in Lahore, Pakistan. His first novel, Moth Smoke, was a PEN/Hemingway Award finalist and New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
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Starting this month I'm going a Book of the Month feature on one of our library blogs to highlight some of our holdings. My plan is to alternate between fiction and nonfiction every month. I think I'll have to be strict about that because otherwise I'd tend to choose fiction much more often than nonfiction.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is the first book I chose for this feature mostly because it was featured in Recent Acquisitions on the front page of the library website for the better part of December and that made the book gathering dust on Mt. TBR quite unbearable.