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The Reluctant Fundamentalist
 
 

The Reluctant Fundamentalist [Kindle Edition]

Mohsin Hamid
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
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Review

"A fantastic piece of work, superbly considered and controlled, with a lovely stillness and wisdom at its heart"
-- The Times

"An elegant, artful, haunting novella - a deceptively simple narrative that is in fact deeply ambiguous" -- Jo Glanville, Observer Books of the Year

"From the start, I was gripped...There's an almost delightful allegorical symmetry to the flow of events, as well as a sensuousness and finish that might belong to some other form of art: music, perhaps...Hamid manages marvellously well in creating a novel that's rendered entirely in terms of the spoken word, and governed by the shape of what's evaded or not uttered" -- Amit Chaudhuri, London Review of Books

"I read Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist with increasing admiration. It is beautifully written - what a joy it is to find such intelligent prose, such clarity of thought and exposition - and superbly constructed. The author has managed to tighten the screw of suspense almost without our being aware it is happening, and the result is a tale of enormous tension. I read a lot of thrillers - or rather I start reading a lot of thrillers, and put most of them down - but this is more exciting than any thriller I've read for a long time, as well as being a subtle and elegant analysis of the state of our world today. I was enormously impressed" -- Philip Pullman

"If a book had to be praised for its merits in defining the anxieties of our post-9/11 society, then Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist would be the one to win" -- Marta Simonetti-Whitford, Guardian Books of the Year

Philip Pullman

"I read Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist with increasing admiration. It is beautifully written - what a joy it is to find such intelligent prose, such clarity of thought and exposition - and superbly constructed. The author has managed to tighten the screw of suspense almost without our being aware it is happening, and the result is a tale of enormous tension. I read a lot of thrillers - or rather I start reading a lot of thrillers, and put most of them down - but this is more exciting than any thriller I've read for a long time, as well as being a subtle and elegant analysis of the state of our world today. I was enormously impressed"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 230 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (24 April 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9MWA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,143 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Mohsin Hamid is the author of the novels Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His award-winning fiction has been featured on bestseller lists, adapted for the cinema, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and translated into over 30 languages. His essays and short stories have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the New Yorker, Granta, and many other publications. Born in 1971 in Lahore, he has spent about half his life there and much of the rest in London, New York, and California.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curate's Egg 9 Dec 2011
By Drifter
Format:Paperback
Rubbish story brilliantly told!

If you've been to the developing world you will have been approached by someone who starts talking to you, usually offering something, generally wanting something. They can be hard to shake off. The way the story is told is just like that.

The stranger talks to you from the pages, taking you to a restaurant in Lahore for tea and a meal. He tells you his story about how he went to Princeton, met a beautiful girl, got a fantastic job then 9/11 happened and everything changed. As the story unfolds it becomes apparent that you work for the American govt. Of course, as he's written the book you get no dialogue or at least very little.

The story flits back and forth from Lahore to New York, from past to present. So far so good. In fact I loved the way the story unfolded and how it was so beautifully told. The problem for me was I could guess the end from about a third of the way through and knew how it would end by the halfway mark.

The protagonist, Changez is a bit pathetic. I think he's supposed to be romantic but comes over as a seedy and unassertive. He is forever placing his hand next to the girl of his desire in the hope that she might place hers on his. It made my skin crawl. The girl in question is sickly and supposed to be a metaphor for America but there is no metaphor for Pakistan in the book. In fact it's completely unbalanced. Changez can't fit into the west and he thinks that's the west's fault. The west, incidentally, doesn't understand the east, Changez says. Reading the book, it becomes obvious Changez doesn't understand the west. Perhaps for his next book he ought to write about a Caucasian Christian living in Karachi.

The occasional use of anachronistic English is irritating and unconvincing, he did, so he says, go to Princeton. So why does he sound like something from 'It ain't half hot Mum'?
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101 of 111 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
There is nothing bloated or overdone about Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Yet this sparse, finely cropped short novel tackles some of the challenging issues. Changez, a Pakistani Muslim from a once wealthy family in Lahore, experiences his own version of the American Dream when his talent and his Princeton scholarship lead him to a high-flying job in the world of New York finance and to relationship with a beautiful, enigmatic all-American girl who represents his passport into high society as well. But, over aromatic food and exotic drinks back in Lahore, Changez relates in a one-sided conservation with an American traveller how he never felt entirely at ease and how the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the subsequent repercussions - both political and personal ones - roused him from his American Dream: his reluctance to follow the advice of his mentor in business to focus on the fundamentals is replaced by an hankering to concentrate on fundamentals of a very different sort.

Yet at times the very sparsity which makes the novel so compelling leaves the reader in a void of ignorance. One is, for instance, driven to seek to understand Changez's conversion but the text provides so little challenge to Changez's narrative that it is left flimsy, incomplete and thus unresolved. This is perhaps Hamid's intention - to set out clearly that there are no easy answers; that Westerners will always fail to understand the East. In that sense this is a deeply unsettling novel and leaves one wishing for just a little more, a little more insight, a little more depth. The sense of `unfinishnessed' is only heightened by the ambiguous, unresolved but perfectly composed ending.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant and thoughtful 24 April 2007
By Jaybird
Format:Hardcover
This slim, beautifully written book is written as a monologue spoken by a young man, born and living in Pakistan, but educated in America. He is telling his life story to an American stranger in Lahore.

This outwardly simple book is packed full of ideas. There are themes of loss and grief, but also of nostalgia, of the dangerous slide of both countries and individuals who lose wealth and influence but retain the pride of earlier days, best illustrated in the lines "As I have already told you I did not grow up in poverty. But I did grow up with a poor boys sense of longing, in my case not for what my family had never had, but for hat we had had and lost. Some of my relatives held onto imagined memories the way homeless people hold onto lottery tickets. Nostalgia was their crack cocaine, if you will, and my childhood was littered with the consequences of their addiction: unserviceable debts, squabbles over inheritances, the odd alcoholic or suicide."

There is a sophisticated analysis of the imperial nature of America, with discussion of how the brightest and best of the developing world are trained as "janissaries", isolated from their cultural roots without fully being assimilated into their masters these child soldiers have nothing to do but work or fight for their adopted nation.

This novel is not political dialectic, it is intensely personal, and that is why it works so well. It encompasses a repeatedly thwarted love affair, which is drawn wonderfully well and a brilliant sense of place.

The reader knows, throughout the book that they are not getting everything from the aptly named Changez; he is an unreliable narrator because of what is omitted, but what he tells you feels true, intense and is not the usual, superficial analyses.

A book with real depth.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Fantastic book, recommended it to my family and friends. If u want a good read than look no further as this is a wonderful reading.
Published 6 days ago by C. De Oliveira
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book
Hamid skillfully gives the other side of the story.
I highly recommend this book. Lahore sounds beautiful and the food divine.
Published 10 days ago by Mhaider
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
I loved this book - it got me to the very last words of the final page. And it really got me, and I didn't realise this to be honest until I thought about it afterwards. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Cheeky Chops
4.0 out of 5 stars page turner
Some lenghty parts and the format gets tedious at times but great insight into the Pakistani side of the story
Published 14 days ago by David & Virginie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it! Read this with my book club and it posed some very interesting discussion
Published 20 days ago by hakabella
3.0 out of 5 stars Might have been great but I could just not get into it due ...
Might have been great but I could just not get into it due to the 'single solo voice. But readers group found it really good so......
Published 23 days ago by Alan and Jan
4.0 out of 5 stars Reluctant home truths
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, telling the story of a brilliant young Pakistani's disillusionment with America, caused a stir when it came out. Read more
Published 28 days ago by reader 451
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent read, but not earth shattering.
I like the stylistic approach of Moshin Hamid to this novel. The one sided conversation allows for a quick read and tension builds nicely as the evening in the market place in... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Mr. E. Mccaffrey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very tidy book
Published 1 month ago by Mr Michael Farrant
3.0 out of 5 stars To be fair bought for my daughter who loved it but not my taste in...
To be fair bought for my daughter who loved it but not my taste in writing. arrived quicky well packaged and great price
Published 1 month ago by bookgranny
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