The Reluctant \t\t Fundamentalist

Mohsin Hamid, Author . Harcourt $22 (184p) ISBN 978-0-15-101304-3
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Hamid's second book (after Moth Smoke) is an intelligent and absorbing 9/11 novel, written from the perspective of Changez, a young Pakistani whose sympathies, despite his fervid immigrant embrace of America, lie with the attackers. The book unfolds as a monologue that Changez delivers to a mysterious American operative over dinner at a Lahore, Pakistan, cafe. Pre-9/11, Princeton graduate Changez is on top of the world: recruited by an elite New York financial company, the 22-year-old quickly earns accolades from his hard-charging supervisor, plunges into Manhattan's hip social whirl and becomes infatuated with Erica, a fellow Princeton graduate pining for her dead boyfriend. But after the towers fall, Changez is subject to intensified scrutiny and physical threats, and his co-workers become markedly less affable as his beard grows in ("a form of protest," he says). Erica is committed to a mental institution, and Changez, upset by his adopted country's "growing and self-righteous rage," slacks off at work and is fired. Despite his off-putting commentary, the damaged Changez comes off as honest and thoughtful, and his creator handles him with a sympathetic grace. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 12/11/2006
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 209 pages - 978-0-14-102954-2
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Compact Disc - 978-1-60283-177-3
Hardcover - 159 pages - 978-1-60285-046-0
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Hardcover - 184 pages - 978-0-385-66344-1
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Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-14-192364-2
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