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The Reluctant Fundamentalist


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Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened of my beard. I am a lover of America . . .

About the Author

Mohsin Hamid grew up in Lahore, attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School and worked for several years as a management consultant in New York. His first novel, Moth Smoke, was published in ten languages, won a Betty Trask award, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Mohsin Hamid currently lives, works and writes in London.


Hamid grabs hold of the American Dream as seen through the eyes of a young Princeton grad from Pakistan in a post-9/11 world. As the protagonist, Changez, finds moderate business success and romantic love in New York City, his heritage and identity will be lost in a sea of subtle and blatant bigotry as well as international politics. In relating this journey from loving to loathing of all things American, Changez speaks to a nameless and speechless American whom he encounters in the marketplace of his home city, Lahore, Pakistan. Bhabha's English-influenced Pakistani accent proves soothing and inviting for listeners. His gentle demeanor captures the courteous and polite manner of Changez. His American accent comes in the form of a Midwestern accent with a confident-almost arrogant-lilt. He lapses when it comes to vocalizing women. Though lighter, his voice exudes a stoic resonance instead of a feminine one. But the casual tone of Changez telling his life story translates perfectly with the help of Bhabha's velvet voice. Simultaneous release with the Harcourt hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 11). (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-In a Lahore market, Changez, a Pakistani, is confronting an American spy bent on assassinating him. He manipulates the encounter, seizing the chance to tell his story-and to be heard. His narrative style (monologue, or perhaps an imagined dialogue) can be distracting, but clearly reveals his interior world and motivations. He tells of coming from an upper-crust but financially reduced family, attending Princeton on scholarship, having a romance with a fellow Ivy League student, and winning a job with the most elite of New York financial companies. To succeed, he must focus on the economic fundamentals of companies targeted for takeover while setting aside any concern about the human suffering his analysis will cause. He's willing to do this, and is very much at home in culturally diverse Manhattan, until 9/11, when everything changes for him. Then, Changez rebels. He grows a beard (in solidarity with his culture of origin, not as an indication of religious fundamentalism); though he appreciates the opportunities he's been given, he rejects the role America has been playing in the world; and he returns to Pakistan, where he becomes a popular professor known for activism. He is now, in America's view, an enemy. Multiple culture shocks over a short space of time have shaken this intense young man's life, and his journey is fast-moving and suspenseful. Some readers might not warm to Changez's cold brilliance, ambition, and class-consciousness, but the growth he experiences through college, disillusionment, and engagement with the larger world could capture the imaginations of thoughtful teens.-Christine C. Menefee, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

(See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/06) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

A profoundly contemporary story about civil wars, unstable countries and refugees pouring to the cities of the West... beautifully written, with the ghost of Camus hovering at the edge of the frame * New Statesman *

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