Book Review : The Reluctant Fundamentalist

July 24, 2012
I just spent the evening devouring this book. I read fast, but I constantly found myself pausing to slow down and savor the writing. As such I will do something uncharacteristic, well a couple of things- all related, 1)Attempt to review this book upon reading this book only once 2) Review it within minutes of finishing it. 3) Review it without doing some writing in my journal and reflection.

I bought this book over a year ago, I had asked someone I respected a lot to offer some suggestions for books as I was about to make my yearly “Big Amazon Purchase” I added it to my cart without reading the reviews and bought it soon after. But between moving across continents and having my belongings scattered between seas (I am quite dramatic), I didn’t get to it till today.

Alright let me get right into it; This book reads like poetry, I mean the writing is impeccable, it is easily the best work of art I have read this year. The store is set in Lahore, Pakistan where
a monologue between the main character “Changez” and an undisclosed American unfolds. Have I mentioned how beautifully the writing flows? The writer beautifully switches from the present setting, to recounting the past with the mysterious American. I love how very little is revealed about the American man yet we are given various clues as to his unease throughout the monologue.

The story is very fast paced and very much a coming of age story with a backdrop of political and social events. More often than not I’m finding that I really enjoy these sort of novels. It really asks the question; “For how long can one ignore the social and political themes that go on around us”

I absolutely enjoyed how much this book explored “unrest” in the mental state of Changez and his troubled girlfriend “Erica” at different stages. As much as this is not a love story at all there are little glimmers of an unattainable love for both characters. The sub story of Erica’s mental health was another thing I greatly enjoyed. I wasn’t necessary to understand Changez’s story yet it added a certain depth and perspective.

The author Mohsin Hamid and the main character “Changez” share many similarities in that they both grew up in Laore and went to Princeton and I can’t help but wonder how much of the story is actually Hamid’s. The relationship between fiction and non-fiction are co-dependent anyways…

Alright if I say anymore I’ll tell all. I would really recommend this book, to everyone, even if you don’t enjoy the story (This would be hard) the writing is impeccable. I will be reading it again in about a month I’m guessing.

Have you read it, what did you think? If not are you interested?

Hope everyone’s week got off to a good start!

Love always,

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1 Comment

  • Reply moyin :) July 26, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Haven’t read this book, but I will be adding it to my amazon wishlist now. Sounds good. Thanks for the review 🙂

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