The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The-Reluctant-Fundamentalist As I read the name out loud, “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, I did realize that this book has something deep attached to it, an emotion unexpressed. Plus, the CROSSWORD Recommends sticker on it and a piece of information that it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007, made me take the book to the cashier, and back to my pad.
Most of the scripts and storylines post 9/11 had a typical ink scent that made them cliché after a time.
Mohsin Hamid looks at it in an entirely refreshing way.
First, the writing style of the book is right from the author’s pen. The first person monologue intrigues you more than any multilingual dialogue would be able to.
The Pakistani stranger ,Changez ,talks to an American Tourist at a Lahore Café, unfolding his entire biography about the time spent in the States. How he graduated Princeton with the best of grades, was hired by a top notch company Underwood Samson, and how he fell into the rat trap of the world; how he gradually got in love with Erica, and what led further to a tragic end of a realistic love story.

The protagonist manipulates your moods well along a sine curve, by coming back from his story to the happenings in the café around him, and then back to the serious issues of his life. He opens up to us his honest foreign insight of an alien land.
The way Mohsin writes simply makes your lips curve upwards every now and then. You would certainly appreciate his detailed observations of things we overlook, and the textual elegance with which he puts everything into a richly decorated sentence.
The book looks at various facets through a new pair of eyes- relationships and their effect on us, competing with the never ending competition itself, the global turmoil post 9/11, politics, perceptions, changes, existing fundamentals, and the metamorphosis into an Islamic fundamentalist.
As crossword did, even I would recommend the book to you. Take time to read it. Cherish every sentence. I love the kind of books which gift you with sentences that linger in your mind. Another such recommendation from my side would be ‘The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch’.
P.S. I came across this interesting analysis of the naming pattern followed in the book.
Underwood Samson- Uncle Sam, United States ; reporting one side of the USA, the fast and moving life, nose to nose competition and its associated enjoyment.
And Erica- from America, the other side of the dime, the slow paced love life, the emotions, the need for spending time with your loved ones.
As we come round to the end of the book, we see loads of changes in Changez (obvious now?), which of course I won’t reveal here, but leave for you to find out.


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