[Free Pdf] The Reluctant FundamentalistAuthor Mohsin Hamid – Bilb-weil.de

On a flight back to US from India, about half an hour was left to land in San Francisco, everyone was asleep, when we heard the captain speaking over the intercom All I heard was something about how we were about to land in Japan In my sleepy state I assumed that something was wrong with the plane and was about to panic when my husband told me the rest of the captain s message Apparently we were denied entry into United States because a passenger was on their no fly list.On landing in Japan, as we all emptied the plane, I saw a family of about 6 a young boy, bearded, about 20, and women of different ages wearing burkha s sitting quietly in the center seats not meeting anyones eyes 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 radar for US Once the aircraft had been emptied out, the family was brought out with about 10 men surrounding them and taken away We boarded the plane again and went on our way Once there, we told our friends about our adventure and had discussions about racial profiling, heard stories from others about how they had been subjected to profiling Pro s and con s of racial profiling, US government, security, prejudice, patriotism, terrorism I m sure you can all imagine what was discussed and debated 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 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.For reviews, go to I ve been trying to read some good Pakistani writing in English for a while now And I m glad I made an introduction with Mohsin Hamid s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, who earlier wrote Moth Smoke, a novel, which Rahul Bose is now adapting into a film.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 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.Interestingly, Hamid s point here is that a feeling of fundamentalism can arise in the unlikeliest of people, when they feel pushed to a corner.The novel s protagonist, Changez is a Princeton graduate, has led a charmed life back in Pakistan and is all set for a enviable career in New York.He bags a job with one of the premium companies of the city, Underwood Samson and in a short while, is recogonised as one of the firm s brightest young talents.If he thought life couldn t get better, he s proved wrong 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.This is when you realize that Hamid s constructed an allegory here 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.Erica s inability to accept Changez, unless he becomes Chris, quite clearly, hints at the country s unwillingness to accept the former s identity for what it primarily is.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.This realisation further dawns upon him when 9 11 occurs and Changez feels a strange sense of thrill at someone bringing America to its knees 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. 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 rightCh ch ch changez to you and his svelte not quite attainable lurve is Am EricaI hope Mohsin Hamid wakes up in hot sweats in the middle of the night thinking Oh God, how could I have done that 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 I thought there was so much to be said about how the East wants what the West has got without wanting to be colonised and disembowelled by the West, and how America is the very embodiment of guilty pleasure, and how this love hate thing is like to drive entire countryfuls of young men raving mad, given the repressive anti sex poverty stricken societies they come from, and how this explains a whole lot, but Hamsid s touch was so light you could almost have mistaken it for shallowness Two and a half. 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 Changez, a Princeton graduate who once worked as an analyst for a Manhattan financial firm, tells us how his optimistic view of America began to darken in the aftermath of 9 11 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 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. This is a lovely, short, very easy to read post 9 11 book 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 Think The Man Who Would Be King 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 But when 9 11 happens he discovers that he feels some satisfaction in the great giant being taken down a notch 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 amERICA , but his amERICA is too damaged by the premature loss of her boyfriend to cancer at age 22 Read Vietnam or whatever other fall one might choose to cope The result of this is that amERICA suffers from extreme nostalgia and becomes incapable of truly embracing Changez subtle Erica s father irks him with presumptions about corruption in Pakistan He sees a typically American undercurrent of condescension p 55 American indifference to third world concerns is noted repeatedly here 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 Presumably one of the author s points is that the values held high in the west efficiency uber alles are just as unfeeling and extreme as those of the religious nuts 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 What 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 is a metaphoric one It would have been better had the walking symbols here been made reasonable, had their desires and impulses been a little grounded in flesh and blood reality You re not a better man than I am, Gunga Din EXTRA STUFFHamid s personal, FB, twitter pages Nine Reasons To Read This One Because it s short, yet evocative a relief at a time when authors needlessly pile on the pages.Because it s hard enough to sustain a distinctive voice for a dramatic monologue in a poem ask Robert Browning , leave alone an entire novel.Because the voice is just right formal without being sombre precise without being stiff.Because, unlike in John Updike s Terrorist, you can empathise with and understand Changez, the fundamentalist.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 Changez s disillusionment comes about in a nuanced, progressive manner and as such is completely believable.Because there s ample evidence of the author s craft, especially in Changez s many responses and descriptions while narrating his tale in a Lahore bazaar.Because yet another example of such craft is that Changez s ill fated relationship with the USA is matched by his ill fated relationship with Erica without being heavy handed about it.Because in less than 200 pages, Hamid creates both a compelling protagonist and a compelling argument. 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 the dusk, ordering tea, andwaiting 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 I just kept reading and thinking about Dostoyevsky s Devils or Conrad s Under Western Eyes Changez would beexactlythe sort to end up a terrorist of some kind 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 2001 and finds himself suddenly, unexpectedlysmiling 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 identityI am a Kurtz, he tells his nameless American listener, waiting for my Marlowe. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an unexpected find, and a story with a whole cast of ghosts and ideas happening just behind the main narrative Very much worth reading, and a book where you ll be uncovering layers in Changez s monologue for a long time. At A Caf Table In Lahore, A Bearded Pakistani Man Converses With An Uneasy American Stranger As Dusk Deepens To Night, He Begins The Tale That Has Brought Them To This Fateful Encounter Changez Is Living An Immigrant S Dream Of America At The Top Of His Class At Princeton, He Is Snapped Up By An Elite Valuation Firm He Thrives On The Energy Of New York, And His Budding Romance With Elegant, Beautiful Erica Promises Entry Into Manhattan Society At The Same Exalted Level Once Occupied By His Own Family Back In LahoreBut In The Wake Of September , Changez Finds His Position In His Adopted City Suddenly Overturned, And His Relationship With Erica Shifting And Changez S Own Identity Is In Seismic Shift As Well, Unearthing Allegiances Fundamental Than Money, Power, And Maybe Even Love Extreme Times Call For Extreme Reactions, Extreme Writing Hamid Has Done Something Extraordinary With This Novel Washington Post One Of Those Achingly Assured Novels That Makes You Happy To Be A Reader Junot Diaz Brief, Charming, And Quietly Furious A Resounding Success Village Voice A Washington Post And San Francisco Chronicle Best Book Of The Year A New York Times Notable Book An Open Letter to Americawhich unfortunately I read late, around 5 years late Why unfortunate B coz I might have liked it or probably loved it since I was a naive reader back then i.e I was into Sheldons and Archers and closer home Bhagats blushes Anyway, I was well aware when this book hit the literary world and took it by storm A dashing title, a Pakistani author, a reluctant subject, a movie in the making by Mira Nair and that s precisely the reason I wanted to read the book before watching the movie , so bought a copy and was yayyyyfinally Great read it s gonna be 1st page ok.2nd page yeah okk.3rd page Ahan I know where you are heading.50th page err..no, I don t know where you are heading, but I sense a twist just around the corner.100th page A love story..,girl s lover deadcan t forget hima clinicI once had a girlNorwegian wood Yes Yes No OK.183rd page just few lines and then contact Agent J a.k.a Will Smith and request for the memory eraser toy and move on to your next Murakami read And Nooo Kindly excuse the superlatives I didn t hate this book but hated the fact as to why I wasn t able to appreciate it in any way possible 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 2011 epic cricket world cup semi final between India and Pakistan and marveling at its brilliance and that moment when..Aargh I never knew writing the review would be a similar experience like that of reading this book..distracting 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 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 I wish the narration was in one to one style as it started bothering me after few chapters, may be the execution was unconvincing or plain dull oxymoron 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 The only thing I found acceptable was his realization of being victimized or prone to victimization becauseI am a Muslim , but like I stated that I read it a bit late so in today s time this has become a bit redundant and again not helping in scoring brownie points for Mr Hamid Those stars are simply because as a writer he definitely has potential provided he let himself go of all the inhibitions if he s having any, from his literary genes. One of the most contentiously rated novels I ve seen hereI d had the book for 2 3 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 I m very glad I did.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 or What s that you say, 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.but all those contentious reviews 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 , ominous threads which slowly are revealed and slowly grow darker.You may dislike the narrator I didn t , but that doesn t seem to be the point anyway, to me And, even if the author himself is taken as having the same attitudes as the narrator does, well, to dislike the story because one dislikes the author doesn t seem to be a way of judging literature either.And it is literature, not a political essay In many ways, for many reasons, an unforgettable novel Previous review The Taming of the ShrewRandom review The Whistling Season Ivan DoigNext review Organic Marxism An Alternative to Capitalism and Ecological CatastrophePrevious library review Invisible Man Ralph EllisonNext library review Dune