How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (Hamid) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
It is a measure of Mr. Hamid's audacious talents that he manages to make his protagonist's story work on so many levels. "You" is, at once, a modern-day Horatio Alger character, representing the desires and frustrations of millions in rising Asia; a bildungsroman hero, by turns knavish and recognizably human, who sallies forth from the provinces to find his destiny; and a nameless but intimately known soul, whose bittersweet romance with the pretty girl possesses a remarkable emotional power. With How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia Mr. Hamid reaffirms his place as one of his generation's most inventive and gifted writers.
New York Times - Michiko Kakutani


Brilliant… In its cleverness, its slightly cruel satire and its complex understanding of both Western and Eastern paradigms, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is pure Hamid… His storytelling style is both timeless and contemporary, a postmodern Scheherazade… This novel is smart about many things, including medicine and the processes of death, but is smartest of all about literature itself.
Marion Winik - Newsday


[E]xtraordinarily clever…Hamid…has taken the most American form of literature—the self-help book—and transformed it to tell the story of an ambitious man in the Third World. It's a bizarre amalgam that looks like a parody of the genre from one angle and a melancholy reflection on modern life from another…Working within the frame of a self-help book would seem constricting at best, annoying at worst, but Hamid tells a surprisingly moving story…His protagonist is never named, indeed, there aren't any named people or places in this novel…But the story manages to be both particular and broad at the same time.
Ron Charles - Washington Post


Hamid is as much an inventive stylist as he is a gifted storyteller… As a result, his novels are compulsively readable, and "Rising Asia" is no exception… Tremendously profound and entertaining.
Alex Gilvarry - Boston Globe

Astounding… An ambitious, moving story about love and loneliness [that] constantly surprises… by reinventing itself just as characters reinvent themselves… At the heart of the book is [the] consideration of what it means to succeed, to rise or to help oneself. How does one live and die? …The questions simmer below the surface of this tremendous, wise and surprisingly moral book.
San Francisco Chronicle


Thanks to Hamid's meticulous use of detail—and his sympathy for a man on the make in a society of endemic poverty—we engage deeply with a serious character whose essence remains his own yet who stands as a figure representative of his time and place, an effect only the best novelists can create… This tale of an unscrupulous striver may bring to mind a globalized version of The Great Gatsby. Given the unabashed gimmickry of Hamid's how-to design, it's a pleasant surprise to find that his book is nearly that good.
Alan Cheuse - NPR


A love story and bildungsroman disguised as a self-help book, and the result has all the inventiveness, exuberance and pathos that the writer's fans have come to expect… Marvelous and moving.
Time


Wonderfully astringent… Hamid is a sly witness to a traditional culture’s dizzying trajectory—supermodels stalk city billboards; a drone hovers ominously in the sky—but his satiric impulse gives way to compassion for the intimacies that keep us tethered in a rapidly changing world.
Vogue


This is one of those original works that are also resonant as a record of human experience and geo-political shift, and a strong argument for Hamid as one of the most important writers working today. An enjoyable read no matter who ‘you’ are.
Daily Beast


Mohsin Hamid’s hotly anticipated new book tells the story of young love between capitalism and the latest target of its cupid’s arrow: Asia… Political, romantic, exciting, and a page-turner throughout.
Harper’s Bazaar


Ambition rules in this playful third novel from PEN/Hemingway Award finalist Hamid (The Reluctant Fundamentalist). The novel follows the unnamed narrator’s journey from his village childhood to becoming a corporate superstar in the big city. The novel is told in the second person, the narrator ushering us through a life in an unidentified developing Asian country while elucidating the many conditions that must be met to become filthy rich. The hero seems to be on the right track; still, he must navigate the usual obstacles in life that could hinder the way to his final goal: family illness, bad luck, and most dangerously, love. The protagonist is merely a teenager when he meets his ideal woman, but this pretty girl’s life has a similar arc as the hero’s. Though readers may find it frustrating that they never overlap for long, the intermittent intersections provide them an anchor to the lives they left in desperation. The book takes its formal cues from the self-help genre, but the adopting of that form’s unceasing optimism also nullifies any sense of depth or struggle. Fortunately, Hamid offers a subtle and rich look at the social realities of developing countries, including corruption, poverty, and how economic development affects daily life from top to bottom. Agent: Jay Mandel, William Morris Endeavor. (Mar.)
Publishers Weekly


The title could come from one of those get-rich-quick books, and in fact Hamid imaginatively uses that genre's format to shape his narrative. But this is very much a novel, by the author of the Betty Trask Award-winning Moth Smoke and the best-selling, Man Booker-short-listed The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Here, the nameless protagonist goes from rags to riches as he builds a corporate empire based on that increasingly scarce commodity, water. He also crosses paths repeatedly and passionately with a pretty young woman on the rise. Hamid always manages to nail the realities of the culturally seismic post-9/11 world.
Library Journal




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