The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Mohsin Hamid, 2007
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard: I am a lover of America. I noticed that you were looking for something; more than looking, in fact you seemed to beon a mission, and since I am both a native of this city and a speaker of your language, I thought I might offer you my services as a bridge.
From the author of the award-winning Moth Smoke comes a perspective on love, prejudice, and the war on terror that has never been seen in North American literature.
At a café table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with a suspicious, and possibly armed, American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful meeting.
Changez is living an immigrant’s dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by Underwood Samson, an elite firm that specializes in the “valuation” of companies ripe for acquisition. He thrives on the energy of New York and the intensity of his work, and his infatuation with regal Erica promises entrée into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore.
For a time, it seems as though nothing will stand in the way of Changez’s meteoric rise to personal and professional success. But in the wake of September 11, he finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned, and his budding relationship with Erica eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez’s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and perhaps even love.
Elegant and compelling, Mohsin Hamid’s second novel is a devastating exploration of our divided and yet ultimately indivisible world. (From the publisher.)
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