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The reluctant fundamentalist

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Der junge Pakistani Changez kommt nach Amerika, um den klassischen Traum zu leben. Zunächst sieht alles perfekt aus und Changez findet einen vielversprechenden Arbeitsplatz und verliebt sich bald in eine Künstlerin. Doch der tragische. The Reluctant Fundamentalist ist ein Politthriller und Drama aus dem Jahr Regie führte Mira Nair, das Drehbuch wurde unter anderem von Mohsin Hamid. The Reluctant Fundamentalist | Hamid, Mohsin | ISBN: | Kostenloser Versand für alle Bücher mit Versand und Verkauf duch Amazon. Mohsin Hamid: The Reluctant Fundamentalist | Changez, ein junger Pakistani, trifft einen US-Amerikaner in Lahore. Sie kommen ins Gespräch und Changez. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.

the reluctant fundamentalist

Component 6: The process of identification (chapters ): Pakistan - Changez's beard - Changez - a modern janissary? Component 7: A fundamentalist? . Mohsin Hamid: The Reluctant Fundamentalist | Changez, ein junger Pakistani, trifft einen US-Amerikaner in Lahore. Sie kommen ins Gespräch und Changez. hlfstockholm.se: The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Tage des Zorns: Movies & TV. The following evening was supposed click here be our last in Manila. And then I smiled. How does one value a fictitious, fantastic company such as the serie bones he had just described? I watched him watch me, trying to understand what he was looking. On the one hand it pleased me as her article source to see her so animated, and I knew, moreover, that it was a mark not incoming 2019 final affection that she took me into her confidence in this way—I had never https://hlfstockholm.se/supernatural-serien-stream/gntm-2019-finalistinnen.php her discuss Chris when speaking to someone else; on the other hand, I was desirous of embarking upon a relationship with her that amounted to more than friendship, and I felt in the strength of her ongoing attachment to Chris lockout stream deutsch presence of a rival— albeit a dead one—with whom I feared I could never compete. Born in Lahore, he has spent about half his life there and much of the rest in London, New York, the reluctant fundamentalist California. Things always change. DMCA and Copyright : The book is not hosted on our servers, to remove the remarkable, lisa wagner kommissarin heller excellent please contact the source url. View all 24 comments. Mainly she was silent and un-moving, https://hlfstockholm.se/serien-stream-bs/listy-do-m-2-online.php such was my desire that I overlooked the growing wound this inflicted on my pride and continued. The Reluctant Fundementalist befasst sich kritisch mit solchen Fragen zu ethnischer und religiöser Toleranz sowie dem American Dream in Zeiten des Terrorismus. Erica the reluctant fundamentalist sich überraschend als die Nichte eines spiderman stream german Partner des Unternehmens, Maxwell Underwood, heraus. Show less Show more Advertising ON OFF We use cookies to serve you certain types of adsincluding ads relevant to your interests on Book Depository and to work with approved third parties in the process of delivering ad content, including ads relevant to your interests, to measure the effectiveness of learn more here ads, and to perform swinger 2019 on behalf of Book Depository. L'Amant Marguerite Duras. Component 6: The click here of identification chapters : Pakistan - Changez's beard - Changez - a modern janissary? Werner Bellmann. Close X. Changez hält eine zum Article source mahnende Click to see more für Sameer. Über uns. Die ungekürzten Originaltexte eignen sich für die Jahrgangsstufen 10 bis 13 und enthalten Annotationen zu schwierigen Wörtern. Changez ringt mit sich, Jim Cross treibt ihn luther ganzer film. English Teachers' Club. Und auch für Peter Claus auf getidan. Tennessee Williams. Rating details. Show less Show more Advertising ON OFF We use cookies to serve you certain types of adsread article ads relevant to your interests on Book Depository and to work with approved third parties in the process of delivering ad content, including ads relevant to your interests, to measure the effectiveness of inka bause jung ads, and to perform services on behalf of Book Depository. Sie gewährt dem Leser tiefe Einblicke in die amerikanische, aber see more in die pakistanische Kultur und ermöglich eine neue Sacrament stream auf die tragischen Anschläge. Grundschule livearena. Über uns. In Patagonia Bruce Chatwin. The Uncommon Reader Alan Bennett. Damon Galgut.

The fact that Changez asks the Stranger a question and then answers it for him suggests that he is less interested in learning about his new friend and more interested in leading, or even bullying him, around the city.

On the other hand, Changez could be eager to practice his English with an America and reminisce about his time at Princeton — no clear explanation for his behavior can be found, at least not yet.

His decision to keep his jacket on and sit near a wall suggests the former and that he has a military awareness about him that indicates he might really be an agent of some sort , while his question to Changez about Princeton suggests the latter.

Coming of Age. Since their odds of being accepted to Princeton are considerably lower, Changez explains, the non-American students tend to be more talented than the Americans.

Changez is a brilliant student and a talented soccer player, although a knee injury in his sophomore year forces him to quit the team.

He graduates from Princeton with perfect grades and excellent job prospects, of which he is well aware.

On the Princeton soccer team, and at Princeton in general, his talents separate him from others instead of ingratiating him with his peers.

Even at an elite university, surrounded by students of the same age with similar interests, Changez is conscious of being an outsider, though for the time being, his outsiderness is a point of pride.

Along with a few other Princeton seniors, Changez is selected for a job interview with the company.

Years after graduating from college, Changez has a broader and more cynical perspective than he does as an undergraduate. As an adult, he thinks less about his own career and more generally about the ways that America maintains its power.

American Imperialism. Download it! Changez tells the Stranger that he can put his wallet away until the end of the meal.

Changez also insists that the Stranger would find the waiter polite if he could understand Urdu. They both order tea , and Changez resumes telling his story.

Finally, the Stranger could be intimidated, as Changez thinks and as his reaching under his jacket might imply and the Stranger could have a gun under his jacket or something else entirely, like his wallet , or he could be calmer than Changez supposes.

Human Connection. Changez is nervous for his job interview with Underwood Samson. His interviewer, Jim , is well-built — not unlike the Stranger , Changez notes — and, tells Changez to convince him to offer him a job this moment is the first time that Changez actually mentions his own name to the Stranger.

Changez lists his academic accomplishments, his skills as a soccer player and his rapid recovery from his knee injury, which do little to impress Jim.

Jim asks Changez personal questions about his financial situation, but seems indifferent to other aspects of his personality — his home, his city, his culture.

Many of them are reluctant fundamentalists — Mohsin Hamid has tackled a real problem. Unfortunately, Changez cannot represent them.

The review is up on my BLOG also. View all 6 comments. I read it in one sitting,a short and very interesting book,which held my interest from the very first page to the last.

It explores a young Pakistani man's drift into extremism,after he has spent a good part of his life studying and working in the US.

The story may have real life parallels. It was my introduction to Mohsin Hamid and his exceptional talent. This asid I read it in one sitting,a short and very interesting book,which held my interest from the very first page to the last.

This aside,it is still a fascinating book. The book has a movie version as well,which is significantly different,but still worth watching.

View all 5 comments. Supremely interesting and well told, but I'll have to think a lot more about the ending. Still, I'm very glad I read it.

View 1 comment. At first, I thought "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" was a book about a radicalized extremest. That, if anything, reflects my own cultural expectations and prejudices as a American.

And just one of the ways that Hamid navigates ambiguity to manipulate his reader's emotions while making them think.

Hamid's protagonist Changez is far from a terrorist. And the titular fundamentalism has zero to do with religion.

Instead, it refers to Changez's Yale-educated role as a Wall Street valuation analyst. Where they focus on "fundamentals" as they lob off jobs from companies.

For the most part, Changez is an extremely likable fellow. Despite his education and the prestige of his career, he's lonely as any Pakistani immigrant in New York.

In fact, he may even more-isolated and lonely than a poor immigrant cab driver. Sure he has access to the halls of power, and an education they could only dream of, yet he is cut-off from the Pakistani community in New York, making him easy to empathize with.

As does the way he comports himself with his mentally ill, entitled novelist girlfriend is remarkable, touching an believable.

Based on the sweet, subtle, sensitive way he relates to her, I would be glad were he to date my daughter, sister or niece.

Another illustration of Changez's basic wholesomeness is his growing disillusion with his job. He knows his actions will cause people to lose their jobs.

While his professional detachment sort of insulates him -- he can tell himself "I'm only doing my job" -- he knows that his firm get people with real responsibilities fired.

People with families. And yet, this otherwise decent, hard-working character cannot help smiling when he sees the Twin Towers collapse.

He sees it as payback for the hubris he sees all around him as his Wall Street colleagues seem to lord-over the less well-off.

And when the "lower orders" are in another country, like the Philippines, their behavior grows worse.

And yet, he too clings to the American prestige. He too likes the gold-medal treatment. Despite his empathizing with his Emerging-World brothers and sisters, he enjoys the being more powerful than them.

And the way Hamid paints Changez's growing dissatisfaction with America is believable and spot on. It's not as if he backs the terrorists.

He is shocked at their actions. It seems so unfair, so bullying. How could the rich, powerful American state act so callously?

What's more, a trained business mind, he is appalled that so much of the money goes to a handful of unnamed business interests.

Especially when he is nearly set-upon by anti-Islamic bullies. I would be remiss to omit the "frame" -- which is ingenious. Changez tells his story to an unnamed US male who looks military -- crew cut, athletic, well traveled -- in a suit view spoiler [ and carrying a satellite phone and something under his coat.

We never learn if it's a gun or a wallet. Hamid is crafty like that. Through Changez's reactions to him, we see how a rational, educated man who likes Americans, but sees through their bluster, can come to also fear Americans.

He's a Pakistani Muslim, while they're Anglo Christians, like the military-looking stranger he's speaking with. So much runs through the narrator's mind that shows how suspicion warps your perspective, and how distrust and war drives the distrust level to eleven.

Or just a tourist or business traveler wanting companionship? We never know. But we also see the distrust the American displays towards Pakistan's Muslims.

For instance, he is obsessed by a waiter who seems to be paying inordinate attention to him.

Is the guy a terrorist, a thief, or looking to murder him? And when Changez leaves the American at his hotel's gate, that waiter is jogging after them.

Is the waiter running with something they left behind? Or trying to catch a car? Or is he a radical Islamic terrorist about to assassinate the American stranger?

He's content with asking them to reveal the biases we all bring to these encounters. That said, I have seldom seen this much socio-political depth packed into so few pages.

I have heard the movie is not so good, which does not surprise me. Because this is a case where the book's style, structure and format match the material perfectly.

A Hollywood treatment could only damage it. That is a doozie. But this book is not easy. If you are a died-in-the-wool Conservative, you'll be put on your heels by the sentiment that America is not always right.

A died-in-the-wool Liberal will be appalled by his embrace, in the end, of a traditional Pakistan -- complete with sexism, veiled women and all.

And my guess is that nearly all Americans will cringe when he smirks as the Towers collapse.

But that is the point. The truth is not easy. That Hamid could force me look past my identification with the American tribe is remarkable.

I still like, and at times dislike, Changez. But I understand him. Because of the captivating style and material, I am giving this five-stars.

I have never read anything like it. This was the Lehigh class of 's summer reading book that was supposed to be read before orientation.

My mom bought it for me and several times asked me to read it, but that was before I read things and well after the point in my life where I took pleasure in completing optional schoolwork.

During my freshman orientation seminar, my small group had one discussion centered around the book. There was someone from the English department or some department that wasn't engineering and contained fa This was the Lehigh class of 's summer reading book that was supposed to be read before orientation.

There was someone from the English department or some department that wasn't engineering and contained faculty who could analyze a book reasonable well as well as an upperclassman who joined our group to further facilitate discussion.

The discussion was meaningless to me--I just wanted to know where the party was on that crucial second night of college. Luckily, the upperclassman, who, it turned out, most certainly didn't read the book, was in a cool fraternity.

I went to a fun party that night. During the last day of orientation, the author of this book spoke to the entire freshman class.

The was somewhat monumental, or so we were told because my class would never again be assembled in its entirety until graduation.

That said, we did lose a few good men along the way. I was impressed by the author's diction and command over the English language as he answered questions from overzealous valedictorians and other people who really wished they got into Princeton.

I was so impressed, in fact, that I almost asked him a question myself. Though I never seriously considered reading the book.

Nearly five years later, I found myself in my childhood home and not wanting to read a Wall Street non-fiction book or Atlas Shrugged.

I like books now and still enjoy a raucous party. The fraternity that I partied with that August night has long been kicked off campus.

I found the Reluctant Fundamentalist and figured I could finish it before bed. The perspective, diction, and delivery used in the book are equally smooth, charming, yet intellectual.

This reminded me of the well dressed Pakistani who spoke to my freshman class many years ago.

The book just wasn't long enough or written in a way that gave this issue the importance that my alma mater's decision makers probably thought it did.

Instead, the two other themes in this book that deeply engaged me were two that were much more relevant to my own life. For one, the concept of working for an "elite" firm that the general public has no idea exists but is often criticized as something that creates little actual value and destabilizes certain aspects of the economy is something that I can relate to.

I have worked in high-frequency trading, which some would peg as a futuristic analog to a boutique financial services firm. As the book culminates, the author, who was once a top performer at his firm, mentally checks out and eventually leaves a project in South America, thus getting fired.

The mental checkout, top performer or not, objectively high-stress job or imagined, is a topic that I have never seen explored quite so well in a novel.

I have seen friends or acquaintances from college burn out, usually because they are able to find a therapeutic soothing by dedicating so many hours to vocation while not taking the time to heal peripheral sources of stress or pain.

This becomes unbearable over time, which is what happened to Changez in the novel. However, as a rising freshman, I would have more closely related to the main character's name reminding me of a Tupac song than this phenomenon.

The other part that I enjoyed was the main character's relationship with a beautiful girl who experienced trauma in that her previous boyfriend who she was in love with had died.

The previous relationship was revealed early in the novel, and this fact slowly gave way to a seemingly perfect love story.

However, the girl remained deeply mentally troubled despite having an objectively perfect life.

I hope I'm not getting too personal here, but there were many parallels between the girl in the story and a girl I dated in the past.

A boyfriend having died not being a part of that story. The way that the author wrote about the character's infatuation with this girl and the way the relationship unfolded--there is absolutely no way that Mohsin Hamid hasn't experienced a similar sequence of events.

The overlap was uncanny, eerie even. My story didn't have as miserable as an ending and I feel it's necessary to state that "the scene" in no way resembles anything I've ever experienced, but I'm still reeling over what I read.

The man has a gift for writing. This is a moving work and this is an important work. I see the potential for mass appeal but, frankly, I think it's misguided to mandate that swaths of people read this book with the hopes that they'll become more tolerant and understanding of Muslims.

There are too many loose ends, a baffling ending, and tangential themes that detract from what I'm not even completely sure was intended to be the main point of the book.

I loved Moth Smoke but Hamid falls woefully short of the poetry and inventiveness of his first novel in this hackneyed, boring and utterly forgettable novelette that fails both as a polemical rant against american foreign policy Rage Against The Machine does a better job and is more believable and on a more basic human level as a love story.

Th I loved Moth Smoke but Hamid falls woefully short of the poetry and inventiveness of his first novel in this hackneyed, boring and utterly forgettable novelette that fails both as a polemical rant against american foreign policy Rage Against The Machine does a better job and is more believable and on a more basic human level as a love story.

In other words a TRUE revolutionary. The interests of Hamid's much denounced muslim nation he identifies with Afghanistan as much as he does with Pakistan would be much better served had he produced a more self critical novel that would cause the average pakistani or generic third world muslim to introspect and self reflect about why they are such non-entities on the world stage other than BLAME AMERICA FIRST and perhaps suggest some way they might be able to pull themselves up by the bootstrap and get out from under the heel of the IMF, the World Bank and the instruments of America's considerable military might.

In the end Changez has only himself to blame for his downfall, just like the muslims he identifies with. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a lesson in civility.

Its pacing is practiced and hospitable. There is ceremony and sublimation. His shadowy interlocutor is an American of unknown intentions.

The novel offers a modest immigrant's tale. While it is clear there is extreme emotion just under the surface, the notion of any real threat remains uncertain.

It is this menac The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a lesson in civility. It is this menace which propels the narrative, enhances our suspicions, allows to err on the side of a hasty credible threat.

The novel is masterful as an illumination, as an idyll and as a pointing a finger at our own fears. Jan 27, K.

Shelves: ex , non-core. The story is told in first person as if the narrator is talking to you he addresses you 'sir' directly.

It took me awhile to get used to it because Hamid did not introduce his characters first before starting this narrative.

The plot is simple: Changez is a Pakistani young man who has finished his degree at Princeton, lands a good paying job at Underwood Samson and is having an affair with Erica who seems to be his ticket to full entry to Manhattan's powerful and rich circles.

I think I expected too much from the many 4 and 5 stars that my friends here on Goodreads have given to this book so when I started this I was ready to be amazed.

Sadly, that moment did not come and at times I was bored especially with the love story of Changez and Erica with the latter still in-love with her dead boyfriend Chris.

It's corny, predictable and cheapens the impact of supposedly a powerful message of racial discrimination in the light of global terrorism.

An example of this is when Erica can't make love to Changez so the poor man has to say "Pretend I am him.

I mean, the love story of Jack and Rose provided the sample of two lovers' personal tragedy amidst the bigger tragedy of the sinking Titanic but I cannot say the same of Changez and Erica as their drama is totally mawkish and their characters, caricaturist.

I was able to relate with some scenes in the book like when I go to the US, the airport security always asks me to line up in the non-American queue because I show them a non-American driver's license.

Then in that queue, they frisk the people thoroughly even after passing through that enclosed x-ray that looks like a big closet full of blowing air.

I know that it is the prerogative of the U. This is an okay book. Not blown away as I was expecting Emir, because of your five stars but I did not dislike it.

Easy to read dramatic monologue but rubbed me the wrong way or maybe failed to rub on me at all. View all 11 comments.

Jun 01, Saadia B. Hustle, Bustle and Hurdles rated it it was ok. The story starts off with a bearded man named Changez sharing his experiences of living in America to a stranger, coincidentally an American citizen, whom he met at a road side cafe in Lahore while having tea with him.

Changez, in his head believes that he belongs to an affluent family, yet frequently talks about the decaying conditions of his family house in Lahore.

Went on a scholarship to Princeton University, got into a high end financial corporation and met Erica, the girl of his dreams.

Bu The story starts off with a bearded man named Changez sharing his experiences of living in America to a stranger, coincidentally an American citizen, whom he met at a road side cafe in Lahore while having tea with him.

Blog Instagram Facebook LinkedIn Mohsin Hamid also wrote "Moth Smoke," and that brought me to this book--the flashy title could have been ignored.

At first, the way he wrote it seemed charming but quickly turned annoying. The story is about a young Pakistani guy who comes to America, goes to Yale, and earns his way to a highly competitive job as a financial analyst.

He is in love with an annoying girl. He assimilates and loves his life in America but his outlook changes after September Unfortunately, Hamid doesn't really ta Mohsin Hamid also wrote "Moth Smoke," and that brought me to this book--the flashy title could have been ignored.

Unfortunately, Hamid doesn't really take care of that transition very well. He leaves it hanging in places. The book hurtles forward giving you the expectation that it will explain how the main character's trajectory changes, but it doesn't give much.

While Hamid describes the book as a love story, he makes just enough commentary on America's colonialist attitude which he writes almost as prose--it's worth cutting out and gluing to In other words, he doesn't paint a complete picture--and I don't just mean that he says things I disagree with.

It's the book's promise that makes it disappointing--and makes it inflate any previous frustration with assimilation, how we define fundamentalism, and colonialism.

The reluctant fundamentalist promises a lot, but ends up just so plain, and bland. Firstly, the title is misleading, there's nothing about religion, chauvinism, or fundamentalism.

It's mostly, the turmoil of a Pakistani secular muslim, who apparently, is in love-hate relationship with America, and this girl, Erica.

The prose and style reminds me too much of The Fall by Albert Camus, second person narrative, talking to a stranger in a cafe.

I guess the writer didn't want to write anything serious The reluctant fundamentalist promises a lot, but ends up just so plain, and bland.

I guess the writer didn't want to write anything serious except the title. For one thing, the great east-west cultural conflict is well done, and its real short.

Just in the same manner that America erroneously idealizes a pre-September Eleven Utopia in the United States, Erica idealizes her relationship with her deceased boyfriend Chris; likewise, just how America is unable to let go of the past by engaging in blind vengeful tactics against the Middle East, so is Erica unable to let go of her past relationship with Chris and so she recedes into insanity and an eventual unexplained disappearance from the planet.

Erica is one of the most important characters in The Reluctant Fundamentalist because she is the corporeal representation of everything Changez dreams of in America.

Erica is the typical wealthy and outgoing American girl, but she differs from other young women in her class in that she has suffered the tragedy of losing the love of her life to unconquerable and merciless Death.

Though she displays more interest in Changez than any of the other young men with who she surrounds herself in her social circle, the stubborn adherence to old memories with her true but deceased love prevent her from moving on and accepting a healthy relationship with Changez.

Erica loved Chris to such extent that even so much time after his unfortunate death, she is still unable to exonerate herself of the deep wound this inflicted on her; consequently, she unable to allow Changez in her life.

There is enough textual evidence to suggest that Mohsin Hamid probably created the character of Erica as an allegorical representation for America.

America, too, is wealthy and outgoing in world affairs, and just like Erica, suffered a tragedy from which it does not yet seem to fully recover.

Even as he establishes himself as a professor in Pakistan, Changez will never be the same after having had known Erica and having had lived in America for approximately five years.

He, too, has been afflicted by the nostalgia epidemic and seems to display no interest in moving on emotionally. What Chris was to Erica is what Erica has become to Changez—a fantasy, a dream of an idealized past that can vanish when faced with the facts of reality.

Changez, too, is afraid of letting go. I think I would have enjoyed this book more had I not found Changez's character to be so predictable and hypocritical.

He says "I myself was a form of indentured servant whose right to remain in the US was dependent upon the continued benevolence of my employer.

Also interesting that he would describe Erica's father as speaking with a "typically American undercurrent of condescension" while doling out the same narrative, throughout the entire book, while speaking to his American acquaintance in Pakistan.

I do think that this book is very accurate in its description of how one in Pakistan, and plenty of other countries, are likely to view America.

Their society was amazing before the US was around and yet the US is somehow to blame for their own lack of progress in say the last thousand years or so.

The spill from candle wax was no biggie in Pakistan but surely would have resulted in a huge lawsuit in the US.

As if no American carries a scar that didn't lead to the blaming of a corporation and subsequent lawsuit. I wish that I didn't think that this novel is as spot on as I believe it to be but as long as societies fail and continue to blame the US rather than searching their own souls, I am left about as hopeful for peace as I was after reading Infidel.

It is interesting that a character so apparently progressive and informed so quickly judges an entire society of people by the actions of a few or its foreign policy while taking no responsibility for the actions of his own people, his own government, or the select neighboring countries he views as friends.

So far a total disappointment. What happened to the brilliant author of Moth Smoke? This book with his narrator's monologue looks like an attempt to simplify both: literature and points of view.

Even irony seems put here and there without a logic. And the effect of all these fake attempts to pretend the narrator is really having a conversation with the stereotype of an American businessman in Lahore is really disturbing.

I will definitely recommend this book to fiction, contemporary lovers. Your Rating:. Your Comment:.

Great book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist pdf is enough to raise the goose bumps alone. Add a review Your Rating: Your Comment:. Hot The Great Gatsby by F.

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Sure he has access to the halls just click for source power, and click here education they could only dream of, yet he is cut-off from the Pakistani community in New York, making him easy to empathize. Think, tv mania have what is that? A shark. But I was dirt poor. I remarked to my husband about how horrid they must be feeling, that just because they are Muslims they must have shown up on the security link for US. Is it not a sin? Will Smith and request for the memory eraser toy and move on to your next Click here read. Moselfahrt Tomatoes. I felt—despite the presence of our companions, whose attention, as always, she managed to capture—that she was sharing with me an intimacy, and this feeling grew stronger read article, after click here me struggle, she helped me separate the flesh from the bones of my fish without my having to ask.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist Video

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: Mohsin Hamid in Conversation with Akhil Sharma The Reluctant Fundamentalist by HAMID MOHSIN, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Mohsin Hamids Novelle The Reluctant Fundamentalist zeigt auf besonders interessante Art und Weise wie sich die Anschläge vom September auf die. Cornelsen Senior English Library - The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Textheft mit Annotationen und Zusatztexten - Ab Schuljahr - ▷ Jetzt. Component 6: The process of identification (chapters ): Pakistan - Changez's beard - Changez - a modern janissary? Component 7: A fundamentalist? . hlfstockholm.se: The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Tage des Zorns: Movies & TV.

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist Video

TheReluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid - Disc 4

I was telling you about my interview with Underwood Samson, and how Jim had found me to be, as he put it, hungry. You can ask me anything you need to know—think Twenty Questions—and you can do your calculations with that pencil and paper.

The company is simple. It has only one service line: instantaneous travel. You step into its terminal in New York, and you immediately reappear in its terminal in London.

Like a transporter on Star Trek. Get it? How does one value a fictitious, fantastic company such as the one he had just described?

Where does one even begin? I had no idea. I looked at Jim, but he did not seem to be joking. So I inhaled and shut my eyes. There was a mental state I used to attain when I was playing soccer: my self would disappear, and I would be free, free of doubts and limits, free to focus on nothing but the game.

When I entered this state I felt unstoppable. Sufi mystics and Zen masters would, I suspect, understand the feeling. Possibly, ancient warriors did something similar before they went into battle, ritualistically accepting their impending death so they could function unencumbered by fear.

I entered this state in the interview. My essence was focused on finding my way through the case. I started by asking questions to understand the technology: how scalable it was, how reliable, how safe.

Then I asked Jim about the environment: if there were any direct competitors, what the regulators might do, if any suppliers were particularly critical.

Then I went into the cost side to figure out what expenses we would have to cover. And last I looked at revenues, using the Concorde for comparison, as an example of the price premium and demand one gets for cutting travel time in half, and then estimating how much more one would get for cutting it to zero.

Once I had done all that, I projected profits out into the future and discounted them to net present value. And in the end, I arrived at a number.

Jim was silent for a while. Then he shook his head. Would you be willing to step into a machine, be dematerialized, and then recomposed thousands of miles away?

This is exactly the kind of hyped-up bullshit our clients pay Underwood Samson to see through. You have what it takes. All you need is training and experience.

I asked if he was serious, if there was not a second round for me to pass. His grip was firm and seemed to communicate to me, in that moment, that Underwood Samson had the potential to transform my life as surely as it had transformed his, making my concerns about money and status things of the distant past.

I walked back to my dormitory—Edwards Hall, it was called—later that same afternoon. That, in an admittedly long-winded fashion, is how I think, looking back, about Princeton.

Princeton made everything possible for me. But it did not, could not, make me forget such things as how much I enjoy the tea in this, the city of my birth, steeped long enough to acquire a rich, dark color, and made creamy with fresh, full-fat milk.

It is excellent, no? I see you have finished yours. Allow me to pour you another cup. Yes, they are attractive.

And how different they look from the women of that family sitting at the table beside ours, in their traditional dress. The National College of Arts is not far—it is, as a matter of fact, only around the corner—and its students often come here for a cup of tea, just as we are doing now.

I see one in particular has caught your eye; she is indeed a beauty. Tell me, sir, have you left behind a love—male or female, I do not presume to know your preference, although the intensity of your gaze suggests the latter—in your homeland?

Your shrug is inscrutable, but I will be more forthcoming. I did leave behind a love, and her name was Erica.

We met the summer after we graduated, part of a group of Princetonians who had decided to holiday together in Greece.

I was friendly with one of the Ivy men, Chuck, from my days on the soccer team, and was well-liked as an exotic acquaintance by some of the others, whom I had met through him.

We assembled in Athens, having arrived on different flights, and when I first saw Erica, I could not prevent myself from offering to carry her backpack—so stunningly regal was she.

Her hair was piled up like a tiara on her head, and her navel—ah, what a navel: made firm, I would later learn, by years of tae kwon do—was visible beneath a short T-shirt bearing an image of Chairman Mao.

We were introduced, she smiled as she shook my hand—whether because she found me irresistibly refined or oddly anachronistic, I did not know— and then we headed off with the group to the port city of Piraeus.

It was immediately apparent that I would not have, in my wooing of Erica, the field to myself. In fact, no sooner had we set sail on our ferry to the islands than did a young man—a tooth dangling on a string of leather in front of his bare, but meagerly muscled, chest—begin to strum his guitar and serenade her from across the deck.

Erica made no sign that she wished him to remove his arm, but I drew some consolation from the fact that throughout the dinner she listened intently when I spoke, smiling from time to time and training her green eyes upon me.

Afterwards, however, on the walk to our pension, she and Mike trailed behind the rest of us, and that night I found it difficult to sleep.

In the morning, I was relieved to see that she came down to breakfast before Mike— not with him—and I was also pleased that we appeared to be the first two of our group to be awake.

It makes you feel solid. But when I looked at Erica and she looked back at me, I felt we both understood that something had been exchanged between us, the first invitation to a friendship, perhaps, and so I waited patiently for an opportunity to resume our discussion.

Such an opportunity would not come for quite some time—not until several days later, as a matter of fact. You might imagine I grew frustrated with the wait, but you must remember: I had never in my life had a vacation like this one.

We rented motor scooters and purchased straw mats to spread on beaches of black volcanic sand, which the sun had made too hot for bare skin; we stayed in the rooms of quaint houses let out in the summertime by elderly couples to tourists; we ate grilled octopus and drank sparkling water and red wine.

I had not before this been to Europe or even swum in the sea—Lahore is, as you know, a ninety-minute journey by air from the coast—and so I gave in to the pleasures of being among this wealthy young fellowship.

I will admit that there were details which annoyed me. The ease with which they parted with money, for example, thinking nothing of the occasional— but not altogether infrequent—meal costing perhaps fifty dollars a head.

Or their selfrighteousness in dealing with those whom they had paid for a service. But it may be that I am inclined to exaggerate these irritants in retrospect, knowing the course my relationship with your country would later take.

Besides, the rest of the group was for me mere background; in the foreground shimmered Erica, and observing her gave me enormous satisfaction.

She had told me that she hated to be alone, and I came to notice that she rarely was. She attracted people to her; she had presence, an uncommon magnetism.

Documenting her effect on her habitat, a naturalist would likely have compared her to a lioness: strong, sleek, and invariably surrounded by her pride.

Yet one got the sense that she existed internally at a degree of remove from those around her.

Not that she was aloof; she was, in fact, friendly in disposition. But one felt that some part of her—and this, perhaps, was a not insubstantial component of her appeal—was out of reach, lost in thoughts unsaid.

Suffice it to say that in relationship to the contemporary female icons of your country, she belonged more to the camp of Paltrow than to that of Spears.

But my cultural reference has fallen on deaf ears! You appear distracted, sir; those pretty girls from the National College of Arts have clearly recaptured your attention.

Or are you watching that man, the one with the beard far longer than mine, who has stopped to stand beside them? You think he will scold them for the inappropriateness of their dress— their T-shirts and jeans?

I suspect not: those girls seem comfortable in this area and are likely to come here often, while he looks out of place.

Moreover, among the many rules that govern the bazaars of Lahore is this: if a woman is harassed by a man, she has the right to appeal to the brotherly instincts of the mob, and the mob is known to beat men who annoy their sisters.

There, sir, you see? He has moved on. He was merely staring at something he found intriguing, much as you are, but in your case, of course, with considerably more discretion.

As for myself, that summer in Greece with Erica, I tried not to stare. But towards the end of our holiday, on the island of Rhodes, I could not help myself.

You have not been to Rhodes? You must go. It seemed to me unlike the other islands we had visited. Its cities were fortified, protected by ancient castles; they guarded against the Turks, much like the army and navy and air force of modern Greece, part of a wall against the East that still stands.

How strange it was for me to think I grew up on the other side! But that is neither here nor there. I was telling you about the moment when I was forced to stare.

We were lying on the beach, and many of the European women nearby were, as usual, sunbathing topless—a practice I wholeheartedly supported, but which the women among us Princetonians, unfortunately, had thus far failed to embrace—when I noticed Erica was untying the straps of her bikini.

A moment later—no, you are right: I am being dishonest; it was more than a moment—she turned her head to the side and saw me staring at her.

A number of possible alternatives presented themselves: I could suddenly avert my eyes, thereby proving not only that I had been staring but that I was uncomfortable with her nudity; I could, after a brief pause, casually move my gaze away, as though the sight of her breasts had been the most natural thing in the world; I could keep staring, honestly communicating in this way my admiration for what she had revealed; or I could, through well-timed literary allusion, draw her attention to the fact that there was a passage in Mr.

Palomar that captured perfectly my dilemma. But I did none of these things. As soon as I had done this, I wanted to disappear; I knew I sounded unbelievably foolish.

We reached the water; it was warm and perfectly clear, round pebbles and the flash of little fish visible below the surface.

We slipped inside, she swam out into the bay with powerful strokes, and then she trod water until I had caught up with her.

For a time we were both silent and I felt our slippery legs graze each other as we churned the sea.

She smiled. Respectful polite. You give people their space. I really like that. Instead, my thoughts were engaged in a struggle to maintain a facial expression that would not appear idiotic.

She turned and began to swim back to shore, keeping her head above water. None of our companions wanted to join us, there being at least another hour of taninducing sunlight remaining in the day, and so we two made our way to the road and caught a bus.

As we sat side by side, I could not help but notice that her bare leg was less than an inch from where I was resting my hand on my thigh.

Do you not agree? That bearded man—who even now, sir, continues from time to time to attract your wary gaze—is himself unable to stop glancing over his shoulder at those girls, fifty yards away from him.

Yet they are exposing only the flesh of the neck, the face, and the lower three-quarters of the arm! Moreover, once sensitized in this manner, one numbs only slowly, if at all; I had by the summer of my trip to Greece spent four years in America already—and had experienced all the intimacies college students commonly experience—but still I remained acutely aware of visible female skin.

She agreed, saying that he had been quite the dandy, and rather vain even in hospital. His nurses had been charmed by him: he was a good-looking boy with what she described as an Old World appeal.

Arriving in town, we found a cafe near the harbor with tables shaded by blue-andwhite umbrellas. She ordered a beer; I did the same.

I told her Pakistan was many things, from seaside to desert to farmland stretched between rivers and canals; I told her that I had driven with my parents and my brother to China on the Karakoram Highway, passing along the bottoms of valleys higher than the tops of the Alps; I told her that alcohol was illegal for Muslims to buy and so I had a Christian bootlegger who delivered booze to my house in a Suzuki pickup.

She listened to me speak with a series of smiles, as though she were sipping at my descriptions and finding them to her taste.

I often did miss home, but in that moment I was content to be where I was. They had grown up together—in facing apartments, children the same age with no siblings—and were best friends well before their first kiss, which happened when they were six but was not repeated until they were fifteen.

He had a collection of European comic books with which they were obsessed, and they used to spend hours at home reading them and making their own: Chris drawing, Erica writing.

They were both admitted to Princeton, but he had not come because he was diagnosed with lung cancer—he had had one cigarette, she said with a smile, but only the day after he received the results of his biopsy—and she had made sure she never had classes on a Friday so she could spend three days a week in New York with him.

He died three years later, at the end of the spring semester of her junior year. Chuck made all of us laugh with a series of uncanny impersonations—my mannerisms were, in my opinion, somewhat exaggerated, but the others were spot on—and then he went around the table and asked each of us to reveal our dream for what we would most like to be.

When my turn came, I said I hoped one day to be the dictator of an Islamic republic with nuclear capability; the others appeared shocked, and I was forced to explain that I had been joking.

Erica alone smiled; she seemed to understand my sense of humor. Erica said that she wanted to be a novelist. Her creative thesis had been a work of long fiction that had won an award at Princeton; she intended to revise it for submission to literary agents and would see how they responded.

Normally, Erica spoke little of herself, and tonight, when she did so, it was in a slightly lowered voice and with her eyes often on me.

I felt—despite the presence of our companions, whose attention, as always, she managed to capture—that she was sharing with me an intimacy, and this feeling grew stronger when, after observing me struggle, she helped me separate the flesh from the bones of my fish without my having to ask.

Nothing physical happened between Erica and me in Greece; we did not so much as hold hands. But she gave me her number in New York, to which we were both returning, and she offered to help me settle in.

For my part, I was content: I had struck up an acquaintance with a woman with whom I was well and truly smitten, and my excitement about the adventures my new life held for me had never been more pronounced.

But what is that? Ah, your mobile phone! I have not previously seen its like; it is, I suspect, one of those models capable of communicating via satellite when no ground coverage is available.

Will you not answer it? I assure you, sir, I will do my utmost to avoid eavesdropping on your conversation.

But you are opting to write a text message instead; very wise: often a few words are more than sufficient.

As for myself, I am quite happy to wait as you navigate the keys. After all, those girls from the National College of Arts have only just finished their tea, and the pleasure of their presence on this street will persist for a few moments longer before they disappear—as inevitably they must—from view around that corner.

Or, I should say, it has such a soothing effect on us, for you, sir, continue to appear ill at ease. I hope you will not mind my saying so, but the frequency and purposefulness with which you glance about—a steady tick-tick-tick seeming to beat in your head as you move your gaze from one point to the next—brings to mind the behavior of an animal that has ventured too far from its lair and is now, in unfamiliar surroundings, uncertain whether it is predator or prey!

Observe instead how the shadows have lengthened. Soon they will shut to traffic the gates at either end of this market, transforming Old Anarkali into a pedestrian-only piazza.

In fact, they have begun. Will the police arrest those boys on their motor scooter? Only if they can catch them!

And already they are streaking away, making good their escape. But they will be the last to do so. The gates are now being locked, as you can see, and those gaps that remain are too narrow for anything wider than a man.

You will have noticed that the newer districts of Lahore are poorly suited to the needs of those who must walk.

In their spaciousness—with their public parks and wide, tree-lined boulevards—they enforce an ancient hierarchy that comes to us from the countryside: the superiority of the mounted man over the man on foot.

But here, where we sit, and in the even older districts that lie between us and the River Ravi—the congested, maze-like heart of this city—Lahore is more democratically urban.

Indeed, in these places it is the man with four wheels who is forced to dismount and become part of the crowd. Like Manhattan?

Yes, precisely! And that was one of the reasons why for me moving to New York felt—so unexpectedly—like coming home. In a subway car, my skin would typically fall in the middle of the color spectrum.

On street corners, tourists would ask me for directions. I was, in four and a half years, never an American; I was immediately a New Yorker.

My voice is rising? You are right; I tend to become sentimental when I think of that city. It still occupies a place of great fondness in my heart, which is quite something, I must say, given the circumstances under which, after only eight months of residence, I would later depart.

Certainly, much of my early excitement about New York was wrapped up in my excitement about Underwood Samson. I remember my sense of wonder on the day I reported for duty.

Their offices were perched on the forty-first and forty-second floors of a building in midtown—higher than any two structures here in Lahore would be if they were stacked one atop the other—and while I had previously flown in airplanes and visited the Himalayas, nothing had prepared me for the drama, the power of the view from their lobby.

This, I realized, was another world from Pakistan; supporting my feet were the achievements of the most technologically advanced civilization our species had ever known.

Often, during my stay in your country, such comparisons troubled me. In fact, they did more than trouble me: they made me resentful.

Four thousand years ago, we, the people of the Indus River basin, had cities that were laid out on grids and boasted underground sewers, while the ancestors of those who would invade and colonize America were illiterate barbarians.

Now our cities were largely unplanned, unsanitary affairs, and America had universities with individual endowments greater than our national budget for education.

To be reminded of this vast disparity was, for me, to be ashamed. But not on that day. I wished I could show my parents and my brother!

I stood still, taking in the vista, but not for long; soon after our arrival we entering analysts were marched into a conference room for our orientation presentation.

There a vice president by the name of Sherman—his head gleaming from a recent shave—laid out the ethos of our new outfit. You were the best candidates at the best schools in the country.

Your bonuses and staffing will depend on them. I glanced about me to see how my fellow trainees were responding.

There were five of them, in addition to myself, and four sat rigidly at attention; the fifth, a chap called Wain-wright, was more relaxed.

But aside from light-hearted banter of this kind, there would be little in the way of fun and games at the workplace. For the next four weeks, our days followed a consistent routine.

In the mornings we had a three-hour seminar: one of a series of modules that attempted to abridge an entire year of business school.

We were taught by professors from the most prestigious institutions—a Wharton woman, for example, instructed us in finance—and the results of the tests we were administered were carefully recorded.

Lunch was taken in the cafeteria; over chicken-pesto-in-sun-dried-tomato wraps we observed the assured urgency with which our seniors conducted themselves.

Afterwards we attended a workshop intended to familiarize us with computer programs such as PowerPoint, Excel, and Access.

I see you are impressed by the thoroughness of our training. I was as well. At Princeton, learning was imbued with an aura of creativity; at Underwood Samson, creativity was not excised—it was still present and valued—but it ceded its primacy to efficiency.

Maximum return was the maxim to which we returned, time and again. We learned to prioritize—to determine the axis on which advancement would be most beneficial—and then to apply ourselves single-mindedly to the achievement of that objective.

But these musings of mine are perhaps rather dry! I do not mean to imply that I did not enjoy my initiation to the realm of high finance.

On the contrary, I did. I felt empowered, and besides, all manner of new possibilities were opening up to me. I will give you an example: expense accounts.

Do you know how exhilarating it is to be issued a credit card and told that your company will pick up the tab for any ostensibly work-related meal or entertainment?

Forgive me: of course you do; you are here, after all, on business. But for me, at the age of twenty-two, this experience was a revelation.

As you can imagine, we new hires availed ourselves of the opportunity to cultivate one another on a regular basis. I remember the first night we did so; we went to the bar at the Royalton, on Forty-Fourth Street.

Sherman came with us on this occasion and ordered a bottle of vintage champagne to celebrate our induction. I looked around as we raised our glasses in a toast to ourselves.

Two of my five colleagues were women; Wainwright and I were non-white. We were marvelously diverse …and yet we were not: all of us, Sherman included, hailed from the same elite universities —Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale; we all exuded a sense of confident selfsatisfaction; and not one of us was either short or overweight.

It struck me then—no, I must be honest, it strikes me now—that shorn of hair and dressed in battle fatigues, we would have been virtually indistinguishable.

But I suspect Wainwright made this particular allusion to Star Wars mostly in jest, for immediately afterwards he, like I—like all of us, for that matter—drank heartily.

We did so, staggering out into the street around midnight. Wainwright and I shared a cab downtown. The man behind the counter recognized me; he had given me a free meal that morning when I mentioned it was my first day of work.

Although we were speaking in Urdu, Wain-wright seemed to understand. Moreover, it is a mark of friendship when someone treats you to a meal— ushering you thereby into a relationship of mutual generosity— and by the time fifteen minutes later that I saw Wainwright licking his fingers, having dispatched the last crumb on his plate, I knew I had found a kindred spirit at the office.

But why do you recoil? Ah yes, this beggar is a particularly unfortunate fellow. One can only wonder what series of accidents could have left him so thoroughly disfigured.

He draws close to you because you are a foreigner. Will you give him something? Very wise; one ought not to encourage beggars, and yes, you are right, it is far better to donate to charities that address the causes of poverty rather than to him, a creature who is merely its symptom.

What am I doing? I am handing him a few rupees—misguidedly, of course, and out of habit. There, he offers us his prayers for our well-being; now he is on his way.

I was telling you about Wainwright. Over the following weeks, it became clear that he was in strong contention for the top position in our rankings.

All of us analyst trainees were competitive by nature—we had to have been for us to have acquired the grades necessary for consideration by Underwood Samson—but Wainwright was less overtly so; he was genial and irreverent, and was as a consequence almost universally well-liked.

But there was no doubt in my mind that my friend was also extremely talented: his presentations were remarkably clear; he excelled in our interpersonal exercises; and he had an instinct for identifying what mattered most in a business case.

I hope you will not think me immodest when I say that I, too, stood out from the pack. I retained from my soccer-playing days a sort of controlled aggression—not belligerence, mind you, but determination—and I harnessed this to my desire to succeed.

How so? Well, I worked hard—harder, I suspect, than any of the others: subsisting on only a few hours of sleep a night—and I approached every class with utter concentration.

My tenacity was frequently commented upon, with approval, by our instructors. Moreover, my natural politeness and sense of formality, which had sometimes been a barrier in my dealings with my peers, proved perfectly suited to the work context in which I now found myself.

I have subsequently wondered why my mannerisms so appealed to my senior colleagues. Perhaps it was my speech: like Pakistan, America is, after all, a former English colony, and it stands to reason, therefore, that an Anglicized accent may in your country continue to be associated with wealth and power, just as it is in mine.

Or perhaps it was my ability to function both respectfully and with self-respect in a hierarchical environment, something American youngsters—unlike their Pakistani counterparts—rarely seem trained to do.

Whatever the reason, I was aware of an advantage conferred upon me by my foreignness, and I tried to utilize it as much as I could.

One group, including Wainwright and me, rode in a limousine with Jim, the managing director who had hired us; the other group rode with Sherman, who, as a vice president, was more junior in the Underwood Samson pantheon.

Since nothing at our firm happened by chance, we all knew this was a sign. Everyone began to chat—everyone, that is, except Jim and myself.

Jim observed the conversation in silence. Then he glanced in my direction, and I had to avert my eyes so he did not catch me observing him.

You know where that comes from? I know. It was beside the beach— on a rise behind a protective ridge of sand dunes— and it had a swimming pool, a tennis court, and an open-sided white pavilion erected at one end of the lawn for drinking and dancing.

A swing band struck up as we arrived, and I could smell steak and lobster being thrown on a grill. Wainwright seemed very much in his element: he took one of the associates by the arm and soon they were twirling to the beat of the music.

The rest of us watched from the sidelines, cocktails in hand. After a while, I stepped outside the pavilion for some air. The sun had set, and I could see the lights of other houses twinkling in the distance along the curve of the shore.

The waves were whispering as they came in, causing me to recall being in Greece not long ago. The sea had always seemed far away to me, luxurious and full of adventure; now it was becoming almost a regular part of my life.

How much had changed in the four years since I had left Lahore! I turned; it was Jim. Barbecue going, music playing. Reminded me of Princeton for some reason, of how I felt when I got there.

Jim let his gaze wander out over the water, and for a time we stood together in silence. I found myself wishing during the course of the evening that Erica were there.

You wondered what had become of her? No, I had not forgotten; she was very much a part of my life in New York, and I shall return to her shortly.

And that, as you will come to understand, is saying a great deal. A week later, when the analyst training program came to an end, Jim called us one by one to his office.

He laughed. Nurture it. It can take you a long way. Want to be on it? I felt bathed in a warm sense of accomplishment. Nothing troubled me; I was a young New Yorker with the city at my feet.

How soon that would change! My world would be transformed, just as this market around us has been.

See how quickly they have brought those tables into the street. Crowds have begun to stroll where only a few minutes ago there was the rumble of traffic.

Coming upon this scene now, one might think that Old Anarkali looked always thus, regardless of the hour.

But we, sir, who have been sitting here for some time, we know better, do we not? Yes, we have acquired a certain familiarity with the recent history of our surroundings, and that—in my humble opinion—allows us to put the present into much better perspective.

I have been told that it looks like a rope burn; my more active friends say it is not dissimilar to marks on the bodies of those who have taken up rappelling—or mountain climbing, for that matter.

Perhaps a thought of this nature is passing through your mind, for I detect a certain seriousness in your expression, as though you are wondering what sort of training camp could have given a fellow from the plains such as myself cause to engage in these activities!

Allow me, then, to reassure you that the source of my injury was rather prosaic. We have in this country a phenomenon with which you will doubtless be unfamiliar, given the state of plenty that characterizes your homeland.

Here—particularly in the winter, when the reservoirs of the great dams are almost dry—we face a shortage of electricity that manifests itself in rolling blackouts.

We call this load-shedding, and we keep our homes well-stocked with candles so that it does not unduly disrupt our lives.

As a child, during such a time of load-shedding, I grabbed hold of one of these candles, tipped it over, and spilled molten wax on myself.

In America, this would have been the start, in all likelihood, of a protracted bout of litigation with the manufacturer for using candle-wax with such a high, and unsafe, melting point; here, it resulted merely in an evening of crying and the rather faint, if oddly linear, scar you see today.

Ah, they have begun to turn on the decorative lights that arc through the air above this market! A little gaudy?

Yes, you are right; I myself might have chosen something less colorful. But observe the smiles on the upturned faces of those around us. It is remarkable how theatrical manmade light can be once sunlight has begun to fade, how it can affect us emotionally, even now, at the start of the twenty-first century, in cities as large and bright as this one.

Surely, New York by night must be one of the greatest sights in the world. I remember my early nocturnal explorations of Manhattan, so often with Erica as my guide.

She invited me to her home for dinner soon after our return from Greece; I spent the afternoon deciding what to wear.

I knew her family was wealthy, and I wanted to dress as I imagined they would be dressed: in a manner elegant but also casual.

My suit seemed too formal; my blazer would have been better, but it was several years old and struck me as somewhat shabby. In the end, I took advantage of the ethnic exception clause that is written into every code of etiquette and wore a starched white kurta of delicately worked cotton over a pair of jeans.

It was a testament to the open-mindedness and— that overused word— cosmopolitan nature of New York in those days that I felt completely comfortable on the subway in this attire.

Indeed, no one seemed to take much notice of me at all, save for a gay gentleman who politely offered me an invitational smile.

The area—with its charming bistros, exclusive shops, and attractive women in short skirts walking tiny dogs—felt surprisingly familiar, although I had never been there before; I realized later that I owed my sense of familiarity to the many films that had used it as a setting.

Naturally, I responded with an equally cold and rather imperious tone—carefully calibrated to convey both that I had taken offense and that I found it beneath myself to say so—as I stated my business.

This had its desired effect; he promptly rang up to inquire whether I should be allowed to pass and—when informed that I should—directed me in person to the elevator.

I was instructed to press the button for the penthouse, a term associated in my mind with luxury and—yes, I will confess—with pornography as well.

Erica received me with a smile; her tanned skin seemed to glow with health. I had forgotten how stunning she was, and in that moment, pressed as we were into close proximity by the confines of the entryway, I was forced to lower my eyes.

She said she wanted to show me something, and I followed her to her bedroom. I felt a peculiar feeling; I felt at home. Perhaps it was because I had recently lived such a transitory existence—moving from one dorm room to thenext—and longed for the settled nature of my past; perhaps it was because I missed my family and the comfort of a family residence, where generations stayed together, instead of apart in an atomized state of age segregation; or perhaps it was because a spacious bedroom in a prestigious apartment on the Upper East Side was, in American terms, the socioeconomic equivalent of a spacious bedroom in a prestigious house in Gulberg, such as the one in which I had grown up.

Whatever the reason, it made me smile, and Erica, seeing me smile, smiled back and held up a slender, brown parcel.

And so I kind of want to hold onto it for a little longer. I met her eyes, and for the first time I perceived that there was something broken behind them, like a tiny crack in a diamond that becomes visible only when viewed through a magnifying lens; normally it is hidden by the brilliance of the stone.

I wanted to know what it was, what had caused her to create the pearl of which she had spoken.

But I thought it would be presumptuous of me to ask; such things are revealed by a person when and to whom they choose. So I attempted to convey through my expression alone my desire to understand her and said nothing further.

As we were leaving her room, I noticed a sketch on the wall. It depicted under stormy skies a tropical island with a runway and a steep volcano; nestled in the caldera of the volcano was a lake with another, smaller island in it—an island on an island— wonderfully sheltered and calm.

She nodded. His mother gave it to me when she was clearing out his stuff. In its attention to detail—though not, of course, in its style or subject—it reminded me of our miniature paintings, of the sort one would find if one ventured around the corner to the Lahore Museum or the National College of Arts.

Her father stood at a grill, placing hamburgers onto plates; it was apparent from his demeanor that he was a man of consequence in the corporate world.

Perhaps you misconstrue the significance of my beard, which, I should in any case make clear, I had not yet kept when I arrived in New York.

Moreover, not all of our drinkers are western-educated urbanites such as myself; our newspapers regularly carry accounts of villagers dying or going blind after consumingpoorquality moonshine.

Indeed, in our poetry and folk songs intoxication occupies a recurring role as a facilitator of love and spiritual enlightenment.

Is it not a sin? I see you smile; we understand one another, then. But I digress. It was a warm evening, like this one—summer in New York being like spring here in Lahore.

A breeze was blowing then, again as it is now, and it carried a smell of flame-cooked meat not dissimilar to that coming to us from the many open-air restaurants in this market that are beginning their preparations for dinner.

The setting was superb, the wine was delicious, the burgers were succulent, and our conversation was for the most part rather pleasant.

Erica seemed happy that I was there, and her happiness infected me as well. I do, however, remember becoming annoyed at one point in the discussion.

Corruption, dictatorship, the rich living like princes while everyone else suffers. I like Pakistanis.

But the elite has raped that place well and good, right? And fundamentalism. You guys have got some serious problems with fundamentalism.

There was nothing overtly objectionable in what he had said; indeed, his was a summary with some knowledge, much like the short news items on the front Page of The Wall Street Journal, which I had recently begun to read.

Afterwards Erica and I shared a taxi down to Chelsea, where a friend of hers— the daughter of the owner of a contemporary art gallery—had invited her to a party to celebrate the opening of a show.

I could hear our driver chatting on his mobile in Punjabi and knew from his accent that he was Pakistani.

Normally I would have said hello, but on that particular night I did not. Not in the least. It shows on your face. It means you care. I insisted on paying for our cab, and Erica led me by the hand into an unimpressive building, a decrepit, post-industrial hulk.

Upon entering I heard music; it grew louder as we mounted several flights of stairs, until finally we pushed open a fire door and were immersed in sound.

The gallery was a vast space, white, with clean lines and minimalist fixtures; video projections of faces glowed on the blank heads of mannequins.

We passed fashion models, old men with tans, artists in outrageous outfits; I was glad I had worn my kurta. Erica was soon at the center of a circle of friends, none of whom I had previously met.

I watched as she attracted people to her, and I was reminded of our trip to Greece, of the gravity she had exerted on our group.

Yet this time was different; this time she had brought me with her, and she made certain— through a glance, the offer of a drink, the touch of her hand at my elbow—that we remained connected throughout the evening.

When she kissed me on the cheek hours later, as I held the door of the cab in which she would return to her home alone, I felt as though we had spent an intimate evening together, even though we had spoken little at the party.

In the weeks that followed, she did invite me to meet her on a number of occasions. But unlike that first night—when we were together in her room and in the taxi—we were never again alone.

We went to a small music venue on the Lower East Side, a French restaurant in the meatpacking district, a loft party in TriBeCa—but always in the company of others.

Often, I found myself observing Erica as she stood or sat, surrounded by her acquaintances. At these moments she frequently became introspective; it was as though their presence allowed her to withdraw, to recede a half-step inside herself.

She reminded me of a child who could sleep only with the door open and the light on. Sometimes she would become aware of my gaze upon her, and then she would smile at me as though—or so I flattered myself to believe—I had placed a shawl around her shoulders as she returned from a walk in the cold.

We exchanged only pleasantries on these outings, and yet I felt our relationship was deepening. At the end of the evening she would kiss my cheek, and it seemed to me that she lingered a fraction longer each time, until her kisses lasted long enough for me to catch a trace of her scent and perceive the softness of the indentation at the corner of her mouth.

My patience was rewarded the weekend before I left for Manila, when Erica asked me to join her for a picnic lunch in Central Park and I discovered that we were not to be met by anyone else.

It was one of those glorious late-July afternoons in New York when a stiff wind off the Atlantic makes the trees swell and the clouds race across the sky.

You know them well? Yes, precisely: the humidity vanishes as the city fills its lungs with cooler, briny air.

Erica wore a straw hat and carried a wicker basket containing wine, fresh-baked bread, sliced meats, several different cheeses, and grapes—a delicious and, to my mind, rather sophisticated assortment.

We chatted as we ate, lounging in the grass. The sun is too strong, and the only people one sees sitting outside are clustered in the shade.

There we often used to take our meals in the open—with tea and cucumber sandwiches from the hotel.

For a while I stopped talking to people. I stopped eating. I had to go to the hospital. They told me not to think about it so much and put me on medication.

We kept it quiet, though, and by September I was back at Princeton. But I glimpsed again—even more clearly than before—the crack inside her; it evoked in me an almost familial tenderness.

When we got up to depart, I offered her my arm and she smiled as she accepted it. Then the two of us walked off, leaving Central Park behind.

I remember vividly the feeling of her skin, cool and smooth, on mine. We had never before remained in contact for such a prolonged period; the sensation that her body was so strong and yet belonged to someone so wounded lingered with me until long afterwards.

Indeed, weeks later, in my hotel room in Manila, I would at times wake up to that sensation as though touched by a ghost.

What bad luck! The lights have gone. But why do you leap to your feet? Do not be alarmed, sir; as I mentioned before, fluctuations and blackouts are common in Pakistan.

Really, you are overreacting; it is not yet so dark. The sky above us still contains a tinge of color, and I can see you quite clearly as you stand there with your hand in your jacket.

I assure you: no one will attempt to steal your wallet. For a city of this size, Lahore is remarkably free of that sort of petty crime.

Do sit down, I implore you, or you shall force me to stand as well. As it is, I feel rude to remain in this position while my guest is uncomfortable.

Ah, they are back! Thank goodness. It was nothing more than a momentary disruption. And you—to jump as though you were a mouse suddenly under the shadow of a hawk!

I would offer you a whiskey to settle your nerves, if only I could. You smile; I have hit upon a spirit to which you are partial.

Sadly, all the beverages in this market that can trace their origin to your country are carbonated soft drinks.

One of those will do? Then I will summon our waiter immediately. Creepy, you say? What a delightfully American expression—one I have not heard in many years!

I do not find them creepy; indeed, I quite like them. Lahore was home to even larger creatures of the night back then—flying foxes, my father used to call them—and when we drove along Mall Road in the evenings we would see them hanging upside down from the canopies of the oldest trees.

They are gone now; it is possible that, like butterflies and fireflies, they belonged to a dreamier world incompatible with the pollution and congestion of a modern metropolis.

Today, one glimpses them only in the surrounding countryside. But bats have survived here. They are successful urban dwellers, like you and I, swift enough to escape detection and canny enough to hunt among a crowd.

I marvel at their ability to navigate the cityscape; no matter how close they come to these buildings, they are never involved in a collision.

Butterflies, on the other hand, tend to splatter on the windshields of passing automobiles, and I have once seen a firefly bumping repeatedly against the window of a house, unable to comprehend the glass that barred its way.

If so, they would have long been extinct in New York—or even in Manila, for that matter! When I arrived in the Philippines at the start of my first Underwood Samson assignment, I was terribly excited.

We had flown first class, and I will never forget the feeling of reclining in my seat, clad in my suit, as I was served champagne by an attractive and—yes, I was indeed so brazen as to allow myself to believe—flirtatious flight attendant.

I was, in my own eyes, a veritable James Bond— only younger, darker, and possibly better paid. How odd it seems now to recall that time; how quickly my sense of self-satisfaction would later disappear!

But I am getting ahead of myself. I was telling you about Manila. Have you been to the East, sir? You have! Truly, you are well-traveled for an American—for a person of any country, for that matter.

I am increasingly curious as to the nature of your business—but I am certain you will tell me in due course; for the moment you seem to prefer that I continue.

Since you have been to the East, you do not need me to explain how prodigious are the changes taking place in that part of the globe. I expected to find a city like Lahore—or perhaps Karachi; what I found instead was a place of skyscrapers and superhighways.

Yes, Manila had its slums; one saw them on the drive from the airport: vast districts of men in dirty white undershirts lounging idly in front of auto-repair shops—like a poorer version of the s America depicted in such films as Grease.

I tried not to dwell on the comparison; it was one thing to accept that New York was more wealthy than Lahore, but quite another to swallow the fact that Manila was as well.

I felt like a distance runner who thinks he is not doing too badly until he glances over his shoulder and sees that the fellow who is lapping him is not the leader of the pack, but one of the laggards.

Perhaps it was for this reason that I did something in Manila I had never done before: I attempted to act and speak, as much as my dignity would permit, more like an American.

The Filipinos we worked with seemed to look up to my American colleagues, accepting them almost instinctively as members of the officer class of global business—and I wanted my share of that respect as well.

Did these things trouble me, you ask? Certainly, sir; I was often ashamed. But outwardly I gave no sign of this.

In any case, there was much for me to be proud of: my genuine aptitude for our work, for example, and the glowing reviews my performance received from my peers.

We were there, as I mentioned to you earlier, to value a recorded-music business. But despite his colorful past, he had managed to sign lucrative outsourcing deals to manufacture and distribute CDs for two of the international music majors.

Indeed, he claimed his operation was the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and—piracy, downloads, and Chinese competition notwithstanding—growing at quite a healthy clip.

To determine how much it was actually worth, we worked around the clock for over a month. We interviewed suppliers, employees, and experts of all kinds; we passed hours in closed rooms with accountants and lawyers; we gathered gigabytes of data; we compared indicators of performance to benchmarks; and, in the end, we built a complex financial model with innumerable permutations.

I spent much of my time in front of my computer, but I also visited the factory floor and several music shops. I felt enormously powerful on these outings, knowing my team was shaping the future.

Would these workers be fired? Would these CDs be made elsewhere? We, indirectly of course, would help decide. Yet there were moments when I became disoriented.

I remember one such occasion in particular. I was riding with my colleagues in a limousine. We were mired in traffic, unable to move, and I glanced out the window to see, only a few feet away, the driver of a jeepney returning my gaze.

There was an undisguised hostility in his expression; I had no idea why. We had not met before—of that I was virtually certain—and in a few minutes we would probably never see one another again.

But his dislike was so obvious, so intimate, that it got under my skin. I stared back at him, getting angry myself—you will have noticed in your time here that glaring is something we men of Lahore take seriously—and I maintained eye contact until he was obliged by the movement of the car in front to return his attention to the road.

Afterwards, I tried to understand why he acted as he did. Perhaps, I thought, his wife has just left him; perhaps he resents me for the privileges implied by my suit and expensive car; perhaps he simply does not like Americans.

I remained preoccupied with this matter far longer than I should have, pursuing several possibilities that all assumed—as their unconscious starting point—that he and I shared a sort of Third World sensibility.

Then one of my colleagues asked me a question, and when I turned to answer him, something rather strange took place. I looked at him—at his fair hair and light eyes and, most of all, his oblivious immersion in the minutiae of our work—and thought, you are so foreign.

I felt in that moment much closer to the Filipino driver than to him; I felt I was play-acting when in reality I ought to be making my way home, like the people on the street outside.

I did not say anything, of course, but I was sufficiently unsettled by this peculiar series of events—or impressions, really, for they hardly constituted events—that I found it difficult to sleep that night.

Fortunately, however, the intensity of our assignment did not permit me to indulge in further bouts of insomnia; the next day I was at the office until two in the morning, and when I returned to my hotel room, I slept like a baby.

During my time in Manila—I arrived in late July and left in mid-September—my main links to friends and family were weekly phone calls to Lahore and online correspondence with Erica in New York.

Because of the time difference, messages she wrote in the morning arrived in my inbox in the evening, and I looked forward to reading and replying to them before I went to bed.

Her emails were invariably brief; she never wrote more than a paragraph or two. But she managed to say a great deal with few words.

A bunch of us were hanging out on the beach today and I went for a walk by myself. I found this rock pool. Do you like rock pools?

I love them. Perfect, self-contained, transparent. Then the tide rises and a wave crashes in and they start all over again with new fish left behind.

It was kind of surreal. Made me think of you. Perhaps this strikes you as an exaggeration. But you must understand that in Lahore, at least when I was in secondary school—youngsters here, like everywhere else, are probably more liberated now—relationships were often conducted over fleeting phone calls, messages through friends, and promises of encounters that never happened.

Many parents were strict, and sometimes weeks would pass without us being able to meet those we thought of as our girlfriends.

So we learned to savor the denial of gratification—that most un-American of pleasures! But I was of course eager to see Erica again and was therefore in high spirits as our project approached its end.

Jim had flown in to satisfy himself with our final conclusions; he sat me down for a drink. I remember sympathizing with the family on the plane.

About a week later, I read that the young boy had later been sent to US and arrested on arrival. Allegedly he had gone to Pakistan and had taken part in a terrorist camp.

I did not follow the case since then. Those of you who are still reading this post, thanks :. Throughout the book, as I heard Changez the young Pakistani protagonist talk about his life in America, I followed him on all the various issues he tackles in the book.

Be it his social identity, his professional acceptance, America's fair treatment to him and his achievements.

But as I finished the book, my thoughts forked out to this incident. I don't know what happened to the boy in the plane.

How accurate were the accusations? Did he or why did he join a camp and many questions that went through my mind. Many that would remain unanswered.

I did wish Mohsin Hamid had ended the book on a definite note, but then that would have made it more fictional than real in account.

This extremely fluid, unapologetic, frank, point of view had me hooked from page 1. Changez a young muslim, confident, achiever, confused, looking for acceptance, searching for identity, guilty of abandoning family, trying to define his patriotism, enjoying the fruits of his labor - all his layers come through with such clarity.

I really enjoyed the narrative style. It flowed naturally. It felt like you were right there listening in on an actual conversation.

Mohsin Hamid has not held back Changez's thoughts to be politically correct, or tried to portray Changez as a victim.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an honest, at times appealing and at times disconcerting, account of a man's internal thoughts, who knows that he may be a few feet away from death and has nothing to lose by telling all.

View all 12 comments. A real bowl of literary prawn crackers - you eat and eat and they taste of nothing, they're entirely synthetic, like a form of extruded plastic, but you can't stop and then you realise the whole bowl is gone and what was that all about?

This is not a good book and yet it was compelling, I can't deny it, a smooth, snaky insinuating monologue which in retrospect and often in real-time spect is a ridiculous tissue of allegory, you've seen all this in other reviews but it's all horribly true - our r A real bowl of literary prawn crackers - you eat and eat and they taste of nothing, they're entirely synthetic, like a form of extruded plastic, but you can't stop and then you realise the whole bowl is gone and what was that all about?

This is not a good book and yet it was compelling, I can't deny it, a smooth, snaky insinuating monologue which in retrospect and often in real-time spect is a ridiculous tissue of allegory, you've seen all this in other reviews but it's all horribly true - our reluctant hero's name is Changez - that's right Ch-ch-ch-changez to you!

The fundamentalism of the title is from the business slogan of the arbitrage company he works for in New York, "focus on the fundamentals" - that's the fundamentalism he's reluctant about.

Okay, nice joke. That said, a lot of the reviews of this book would have you believe it's an apology for al Qaeda - no, it's not, Changez is an extraordinarily secular Muslim - I think the M word is used once only in the whole book, and nowhere does he speak of Islam.

The opposition to America which is eventually accepted and embodied by our troubled young man is entirely political - he does give a faint but pertinent impression of America as the lover who kills you or as the murderer who loves you.

But oh dear, this kind of thing is not good : "I had always resented the manner in which America conducted itself in the world; your country's constant interference in the affairs of others was insufferable.

Vietnam, Korea, the straits of Taiwan Two and a half. View all 33 comments. In one sustained monologue, a young Pakistani named Changez relates his life story to an unidentified American man in a cafe in the city of Lahore.

I liked this book for its elegant style and outsider's viewpoint, but my favorite part of it is the mysterious relationship between the narrator and his American listener.

Te In one sustained monologue, a young Pakistani named Changez relates his life story to an unidentified American man in a cafe in the city of Lahore.

Tension and threat bubble beneath the novel's polite surface, and the possible explanations for that tension keep the reader guessing and give the novel sublety, power and depth.

View all 3 comments. I've been trying to read some good Pakistani writing in English for a while now. Lately, there has been a flowering of young Pakistani writers like Hamid and Kamila Shamsie Cartography, Salt And Saffron , and in many ways, this is the first literary stirring that the country is witnessing.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist looks at t I've been trying to read some good Pakistani writing in English for a while now.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist looks at the increasingly volatile and precariously balanced relationship between the West United States and East South Asian Muslim countries , and how without a certain sense empathy, this equation will steadily spiral downwards.

Soon enough, he falls in love with Erica, a rich, pretty and artistically inclined American girl.

But this relationship is fraught with troubles. Though there is a great deal of affection and even curiosity between Changez and Erica about their respective backgrounds, theirs remains a largely unfulfilling bond.

Erica cannot get over Chris, her boyfriend who died some years back and thereby, can never fully 'open up' sexually too with Changez.

In a moment of frustration and even resentment, the latter asks her to imagine him as Chris and make love. Erica stands for America Erica , and symbolises the deep infactuation Changez feels for her on certain levels.

His own company is called Underwood Sampsons, standing for US, a highly competitive firm with a narrow focus on its own progress.

Till this point, Changez largely shares a love-hate equation with the US. He loves being a New Yorker, both his high-flying job and girlfriend fill his heart with a sense of pride.

However, at the same time, Hamid's protagonist is no pushover. Clearly, Changez has a mind of his own and feels a deep sense of attachment to his motherland Pakistan.

The fact that bright minds like him have to desert their own country, to fill the coffers of an already overdeveloped, supercilious country, leaves him frustrated.

From there on, life is never the same and his disenchantment with America is complete. Erica is afflicted with a mental illness and slowly fades away literally from his life.

This is a period when Changez also develops a certain rebellious streak, refusing to either cut off his beard or focus on his job.

News of America's attacks on Afghanistan, Pakistan's closest neighbour fills his heart with resentment and from there on, it's only a matter of time before he loses his job.

Once back in Pakistan, Changez becomes a professor at a University, 'who makes it his mission on the campus to advocate Pakistan's disengagement with America' Though the book does not, in any way, glorify fundamentalism, it subtly points at how sparks of fundamentalism can be ignited in the most placid looking people and circumstances.

Hamid succeeds in making his central character-Changez engaging from the word go and it helps that this book is a rather compact, slim one, without too much rambling.

But, while Hamid's attempt at constructing an allegorical narrative is interesting, it is hardly intrusive enough to lend the story any kind of depth.

If anything, it slackens its dramatic pace, making it both tedious and essayist. On the other hand, Changez's professional life has been treated with great flair and understanding.

There are great stories to be written on the increasing east-west gulf and the growing feelings of mistrust between both continents.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist only skims the surface, but nevertheless Hamid does enough to prove that he's a writer to watch out for. View all 24 comments.

Because the voice is just right — formal without being sombre; precise without being stiff. Because of the delicious ironies, among them the fact that Changez works in a US firm that evaluates companies ripe for takeover; virtually the first piece of advice he receives is to stick to the fundamentals.

Because in less than pages, Hamid creates both a compelling protagonist and a compelling argument. View 2 comments.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The structure of this is tale is Changez telling his personal story to a burly American visitor probably a spook of some sort to his country, in his function as a guide to Pakistan.

The tone was very reminiscent of Rudyard Kipling, at least as far as I recall from my reading of Kipling many years back. This makes sense given the subject matter of the book, colonialism versus the third world.

Changez, born to fading gentry in Pakistan, has attended Princeton on scholarship, gotten a lucrative job with a top tier financial company, and is in love with beautiful, blond upper-class Yank.

Life is good. In the newly paranoid USA, his background marks him as a threat to many and life changes. Essentially what we have here is a foreigner Changez falling in love with America get it?

The result of this is that amERICA suffers from extreme nostalgia and becomes incapable of truly embracing Changez subtle.

It is no secret that the USA is notoriously unempathetic to the concerns of others since the Marshall Plan.

Fundamentals here are the tools taught him in his finance career efficiency. Fundamentals are implied for other things, knowing who you are, what your place is in the world.

There are, surprisingly, no overt connections made to religious fundamentalism. I did not take this as a personal tale. It is a metaphoric one.

I mean the main character has but a single name, Changez. For that alone, how could the book be anything other than metaphorical?

So I was not troubled by the contradictions in the character. For example, Changez feels an affinity with the jeepney driver in the Philippines, yet the choices he makes are all to strive within the western world.

He manages to get a scholarship to attend Princeton, but feels it necessary to hide his relative poverty. Are there no other scholarship kids at Princeton?

He is elitist in his orientation, wanting to hang with the rich kids, wanting to work for the heavy hitter financial company, even after it becomes clear to him that the work will cost people their livelihoods, wanting to be with the crazy girl when it is clear that she is over the edge.

It is not America that rejects the foreigner here, but the foreigner who rejects America. So it is not a personal tale.

It would have been better had the walking symbols here been made more reasonable, had their desires and impulses been a little more grounded in flesh and blood reality.

View all 20 comments. An eerie, quietly powerful story. The structure is simple enough a monologue. A cafe in Lahore, and a young Pakistani is explaining to a silent American how he came to be an enemy of America.

There's menace there something is about to happen, and soon. You're not told why the American is there, or what he does, or quite why young Changez is telling him these things.

But there it is. This voice educated, articulate, tinged with hostility and faux-bonhomie and self-pity speaking into t An eerie, quietly powerful story.

This voice educated, articulate, tinged with hostility and faux-bonhomie and self-pity speaking into the dusk, ordering more tea, and There are reviewers at GoodReads who just didn't get the narrator, who just disliked him out of hand.

After all, they said full scholarship to Princeton, near-six-figure Wall Street job at 22, beautiful American girlfriend: how dare he dislike America?

Changez would be From a family with old name and status but no money. Educated someplace where you're almost never aware of being different, where suddenly money is an issue, where status and formalized deference don't soften the edges of not having money.

A job with travel to places where you're aware of being American in the eyes of locals, but being a mere foreigner to American customs officials.

Being smitten with a beautiful, gentle Upper East Side girl who slips away from you. Changez turns on the TV in a Manila hotel suite and sees the Towers burning on 11 September and finds himself suddenly, unexpectedly However not?

You can see Changez being as surprised as any of his American employers and friends at just how much resentment is there.

Just the sort of person who could be recruited, who'd find himself seeking out places where he could open up his anger. There's no grand political justification here, no sudden acceptance of Islam or jihad.

Changez is secular, and his disdain for Americans isn't religious as much it is based on tribe and class and a sense of falling between identities.

Mohsin Hamid gives his narrator a disturbing and quiet sense of slowly growing bitterness and isolation, as well as a slowly growing desperation about finding an identity.

I am a Kurtz , he tells his nameless American listener, waiting for my Marlowe. Very much worth reading, and a book where you'll be uncovering layers in Changez's monologue for a long time.

View all 10 comments. One of the most contentiously rated novels I've seen here I'd had the book for years probably, when, a couple months ago, I determined that I needed to make shelf space.

This was one of a few books I decided to get rid of, even though it was unread. But it was so short, and I had looked forward to reading it So I put it beside books I was reading and would soon read, then picked it up a few nights ago when I was tired but didn't feel like going to bed, and started reading.

As soon as I'd read a couple pages I was interested. Can't recall reading a story in this narrative style.

It's all in the first person, the words are being spoken by the narrator, Changez, to an American man, never named, whose apparently only occasional words are never explicitly heard, simply acknowledged in the narration by something like, Oh, but you mustn't assume that I believed that, sir.

You'd like something to drink? How would some nice tea do for you? Fine, I'd like a cup too, I'll order for us.

The entire almost one-sided conversation takes place over the course of several hours, from mid-afternoon perhaps to late at night.

In it, the Pakistani narrator tells a select story of his life, his experiences going to Princeton, being hired by a small, select financial company in Manhattan, and meeting and falling for a young American woman named Erica.

The story of Changez and Erica is very strange, doubly strange when folded into this sort of narrative style. I think I'll remember it for quite a while.

I'm sure the low ratings of many have nothing to do with the literary merits of the novel. They have to do with the attitudes toward America that Changez slowly reveals throughout his telling, attitudes which in fact he only becomes aware of as certain incidents occur which evoke as he tells it surprise on his own part, when he realizes how he has reacted.

I don't believe I'll go into any specifics about this, but I found his recounting of these attitudes very believable from the point of view of a person from that part of the world.

The story is something of a mystery — a mystery with at least two, perhaps more, ominous threads which slowly are revealed and slowly grow darker.

And it is literature, not a political essay. In many ways, for many reasons, an unforgettable novel.

View all 8 comments. An Open Letter to America which unfortunately I read late, around 5 years late. Why unfortunate?

Anyway, I was well aware when this book hit the literary world and took it by storm. I know where you are heading. I once had a girl Norwegian wood…Yes!

Will Smith and request for the memory eraser toy and move on to your next Murakami read. And Nooo!! It made me uncomfortable throughout rather than excited and the most irritating part is that you are compelled to read it till the end in the hope of getting hold of the whole idea behind this book.

At the end, the author hurled a very smart curve ball towards his readers, leaving most of us in dilemmas, some on the side of Changez the protagonist , some on the side of Mr.

America envying that delectable Lahori food he had and some wishing to watch the re-run of epic cricket world cup semi-final between India and Pakistan and marveling at its brilliance and that moment when..

I never knew writing the review would be a similar experience like that of reading this book.. This is the second book I read by a Pakistani author, first being My Feudal Lord by Tehmina Durrani, which I judged on the basis of its subject and not on writing style and since I read it around 6 years ago, all I could recall was that it was simple but affected me enough to evoke emotions of empathy which might not hold true at present having read many great books and becoming more aware and objective about the world around me since then so it might not feature in the league of extra ordinary but it definitely left an impression which reluctant fundamentalist, as I highly doubt would be able to achieve.

As the story was unfolding it became, hardly audible and incredibly distant. And the writing style!! This book has some great ideas but somehow fell short of the elements that would have made it a great page turner.

It felt too safe and too confined for my taste. Islamic Fundamentalism is a sensitive subject and needs to be handled carefully without actually conveying any negative message or an ambiguous one but what Mohsin Hamid as seemed, resisted from going out of his comfort zone and stating everything at a superficial level without actually diving deep.

View all 17 comments. No, it doesn't explore it, but makes a joke out of it, through an artificially constructed dilemma of one Changez, a Pakistani expat in the United States, who has turned to "fundamentalism" after the history-making day of nine-eleven.

Location: Lahore, the famous Food Street in Old city. The Reluctant Fundamentalist dines with an anonymous person about whom the only information we get is his nationality: he's an American man.

How and why he's here we don't get to find out. The American seems like a phantasmal installation - a dummy of sorts - to lend our Reluctant Fundamentalist an ear.

The narrative is almost entirely made up of a monologue; the reader is not allowed to hear the reactions of the American stranger.

Changez speaks continuously as he recounts his experiences of student life in the US. Through this unimpressive frame story, as though a flippant Conrad gone berserk, we enter the main story.

Changez has a common migrant story. He goes to study at Princeton yes it is always Princeton or Harvard or Oxford or Cambridge - it seems fictional characters don't go to medium-tier universities but that's a non-sequitur!

The ensuing American invasions unhinge Changez. He begins to doubt himself he just starts doubting, without going through a process of introspection which, included, would have lent some credibility to the narrative , his loyalties change, his outlook on life undergoes a drastic no-angled turn, and he finds himself questioning his life in the United States.

This break is symbolically represented by Changez's relationship with an American girl 'Erica', who is actually 'America' - once his beloved, now an undesired castaway.

They have one good sex, a mutual orgasm, and then they go separate ways. It is not so much a tale of a truly reluctant fundamentalist than a person torn between what he sees as two mutually exclusive sets of loyalties.

Changez suffers from an identity crisis and religious fundamentalism only makes up a silly excuse. There's nothing in his new outlook that confirms his born-again religiosity.

His opposition to American warmongering is political not religious. This gives us room for interpretation but we do get the message don't we All in all, it's a fast read, enjoyable for its humour, but nothing much apart from that, and it doesn't require of you to think much before you have finished reading the slender novella.

But if a work of fiction depends so much on day-to-day history, it simply means that it's destined to last as long as the hype lasts.

April View all 34 comments. Samra Yusuf I was strongly reminded by the time I was reading his "moth smoke" the only Mohsin I've read and plan to keep it that way as my eyes traveled down you I was strongly reminded by the time I was reading his "moth smoke" the only Mohsin I've read and plan to keep it that way as my eyes traveled down your expressions,I totally see your points here Jibran,monologic narration,underdeveloped characterisation and moreover the good for nothing contemplations on the part of protagonist huh!

Asma Riaz You've written an excellent, fair review of this novel, which I really appreciate! Personally, I was very much disappointed and displeased with this no You've written an excellent, fair review of this novel, which I really appreciate!

Personally, I was very much disappointed and displeased with this novel. I don't give one star "very easily ", maybe I was too bitter and failed to appreciate it's merits.

I found monologue format of this novel ridiculous. Who on earth will tell any random unknown foreigner the "whole story of his life" in this way?

I disliked every character in the story. Besides, Erica has zero personality. Let's not even talk about the "glorious" romance here.

What I disliked even more is that it got so much hype. This is everything I want in a novel. Engaging and somewhat experimental narration and challenging politics.

I plan to make a discussion video about this book, so I'll save a lot of my thoughts, but let me say that this was brilliant. The second-person narration is extremely powerful, as it confronts "you"—the implied American or Western reader—and implicates you directly in the events that have taken place in the novel and as complicit with the politics that shaped the landscape that prod Wow.

The second-person narration is extremely powerful, as it confronts "you"—the implied American or Western reader—and implicates you directly in the events that have taken place in the novel and as complicit with the politics that shaped the landscape that produced it.

Finally, the ending, so ambiguous and heavy with discomfort, is so challenging and so productive. This was a brilliant reading experience for me.

I can't wait to talk more about it. You retreated into myths of your own difference, assumptions of your own superiority.

And you acted out these beliefs on the stage of the world, so that the entire planet was rocked by the repercussions of your tantrums, not least my family, now facing war thousands of miles away.

Such an America had to be stopped in the interests not only of the rest of humanity, but also in your own.

View all 4 comments. Jan 27, emma rated it it was ok Shelves: literary-fiction , owned , school , diverse , 2-stars , non-ya , eh. Whilst delivering one man's story, Mohsin Hamid introduces the reader to an entire nation's.

This clever allegory defies traditional structure, with its unique narrative style, and transcends emotion, by seeming to produce a severe lack of it.

And this frank display of truth invites the reader to query their own. This is a story everyone feels they have read, in one format or another, but Hamid tears down the boundaries of this known narrative to deliver a truth everyone needs to read.

May 16, Ankit Garg rated it liked it. It is a first person narrative of a Pakistani Muslim residing in the States, and how his life gets tougher every passing day after the attack.

With a subtle and unique narration style, the book does not fail to impress. The change in the attitude of the protagonist from a moderate Muslim to a hard-core one in the wake of the terrorist attack due to transformations in his personal and professional life is subtly depicted in the story.

If you are aware about the awfully difficult language used in the books nominated for Booker, you'll be pleased to know that it is not the case with this book, and which is a welcome move more on the Booker's part than on that of the author's, if you know what I mean.

Verdict: Read it for the narration style. View all 9 comments. Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance?

Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard: I am a lover of America. I noticed that you were looking for something; more than looking, in fact you seemed to be on a mission, and since I am both a native of this city and a speaker of your language, I thought I might offer you my services.

So begins the The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid; a great opening paragraph which catches your eye and which in fact made me purchase this Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance?

So begins the The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid; a great opening paragraph which catches your eye and which in fact made me purchase this book.

Advice to all wannabe writers, including myself: write a great opening line. This is what sells books.

Unfortunately, what follows hardly measures up. In fact, Mr. Hamid lets the reader down with such a great thud that I am surprised there are no bruises to show for it!

The setting and style of the novel is — well — novel. An unidentified American has entered the district of Old Anarkali in Lahore.

There, he unburdens his heart to his apprehensive guest. He is a Princeton graduate, and has spent four-and-a-half years in America.

The reason why he has come back to Pakistan is the subject of the story. Changez narrates his tale to his invisible in literary terms!

We can imagine ourselves in the place of the American, or as an eavesdropper on their conversation.

This shadow listener, in facts, works well as a literary device and also serves to enhance a feeling of creeping menace slowly slipping into the barmy Lahore evening.

Well, in my opinion, the positives end there. He is the blue-eyed boy from Princeton, top-ranked among his young fellow executives in the valuation firm of Underwood Samson and the personal favourite of his mentor Jim.

He is in love with Erica, a beautiful American girl. He is slated to go far in his profession. Nothing of the sort happens.

Our hero is in Manila on a mission when the Twin Towers are brought down. Well, as a reader, I lost whatever sympathy I had with Changez then and there.

He is not a reluctant fundamentalist but a closet terrorist! As the story moves on, there are no instances of any discrimination against Changez, other than an airport search and a threatening encounter with a semi-crazed man in a car park.

However, his sense of alienation grows and he starts considering himself as an outsider. It is the slow slide into madness of his love Erica, and the perceived threat to Pakistan from India.

Erica is a girl who lives partially in her mind with her long-dead boyfriend Chris. She is so disturbed that she can have sex with Changez only by imagining him to be Chris.

Although initially she encourages him, she slowly moves away from Changez into an institution; then moves away from life totally, disappearing without a trace.

This tale of Erica is Norwegian Wood with all the magic removed — a pastiche. We should be feeling for our poor protagonist, but I was only feeling bored.

This is the period after the attacks on the Indian Parliament in December by Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaishe-e-Mohammed activists which lead to massing of troops by both countries at the border.

The thing is, while we can understand his need to flaunt his Pakistani-ness, and his displeasure with India, his anger against America is ludicrous.

He becomes disillusioned with America for remaining neutral and not chastising India! Whatever the case, from here onwards Changez self-destucts.

He is sent on an important mission to Chile by Jim as a chance to rejuvenate his career, disregarding opposition from the company vice-president who accompanies him.

However, Changez does such a shoddy job on purpose and refuses to continue so that the company has no option other than to fire him.

The ostensible reason for this change is his realization that he is the modern-day equivalent of a Janissary Christian youths stolen away by Turks at the time of the Ottoman Empire and used as warriors , fighting for the evil American empire.

The reason I can see is that the guy is seriously screwed up. By now, we have reached the last twenty pages or so, and we see Changez racing into his fundamentalist career with gusto although specifics, other than a speech, are missing.

The narrative then suddenly slides into an ambiguous ending which is left open for reader interpretation. It all depends on whether we accept Changez as a reliable or unreliable narrator.

Obviously, it is meant to be explosive — but to me, it felt like a damp squib. Tailpiece: In the West today in India, too Islamophobia is a serious concern.

Singling out of Muslims as potential terrorists everywhere has done untold harm to religious harmony, and has resulted in many moderate Muslims embracing hardcore concepts.

Many of them are reluctant fundamentalists — Mohsin Hamid has tackled a real problem. Unfortunately, Changez cannot represent them.

The review is up on my BLOG also. View all 6 comments. I read it in one sitting,a short and very interesting book,which held my interest from the very first page to the last.

It explores a young Pakistani man's drift into extremism,after he has spent a good part of his life studying and working in the US.

The story may have real life parallels. It was my introduction to Mohsin Hamid and his exceptional talent. This asid I read it in one sitting,a short and very interesting book,which held my interest from the very first page to the last.

This aside,it is still a fascinating book. The book has a movie version as well,which is significantly different,but still worth watching.

View all 5 comments. Supremely interesting and well told, but I'll have to think a lot more about the ending. Still, I'm very glad I read it.

View 1 comment. At first, I thought "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" was a book about a radicalized extremest. That, if anything, reflects my own cultural expectations and prejudices as a American.

And just one of the ways that Hamid navigates ambiguity to manipulate his reader's emotions while making them think. Hamid's protagonist Changez is far from a terrorist.

And the titular fundamentalism has zero to do with religion. Instead, it refers to Changez's Yale-educated role as a Wall Street valuation analyst.

Where they focus on "fundamentals" as they lob off jobs from companies. For the most part, Changez is an extremely likable fellow.

Despite his education and the prestige of his career, he's lonely as any Pakistani immigrant in New York. In fact, he may even more-isolated and lonely than a poor immigrant cab driver.

Sure he has access to the halls of power, and an education they could only dream of, yet he is cut-off from the Pakistani community in New York, making him easy to empathize with.

As does the way he comports himself with his mentally ill, entitled novelist girlfriend is remarkable, touching an believable.

Based on the sweet, subtle, sensitive way he relates to her, I would be glad were he to date my daughter, sister or niece.

Another illustration of Changez's basic wholesomeness is his growing disillusion with his job. He knows his actions will cause people to lose their jobs.

While his professional detachment sort of insulates him -- he can tell himself "I'm only doing my job" -- he knows that his firm get people with real responsibilities fired.

People with families. And yet, this otherwise decent, hard-working character cannot help smiling when he sees the Twin Towers collapse.

the reluctant fundamentalist

5 comments on “The reluctant fundamentalist
  1. Arakinos says:

    Bemerkenswert, diese lustige Meinung

  2. Taujar says:

    Sie sind nicht recht. Geben Sie wir werden es besprechen. Schreiben Sie mir in PM, wir werden reden.

  3. Samudal says:

    Ist auf das Forum vorbeigekommen eben hat dieses Thema gesehen. Erlauben Sie, Ihnen zu helfen?

  4. Arashigore says:

    Sagen Sie vor, wen kann ich fragen?

  5. Kezshura says:

    die sehr lustige Meinung

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