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The Reluctant Fundamentalist
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Author: Mohsin Hamid
At a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy 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 the elite "valuation" firm of U...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780151013043
ISBN-10: 0151013047
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 192
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 83 ratings
Publisher: Harcourt
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Reluctant Fundamentalist on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Don't let the title fool you. I had to read this book for my book group and I thought it would be a dry tedious book. It's not. It's a short book so I planned to read a couple of chapters then go back to reading another book, but I couldn't put it down. I finished it in an afternoon. The format is a bit unusual. The main character, a Pakistani, relates his experiences before, during, and after 9/11 to an unnamed American visiting his home town.
applebart avatar reviewed The Reluctant Fundamentalist on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
In an era of paranoia about Middle Easteners, this book strikes a very familiar note. Novels in the second person are relatively rare, and Hamid uses this technique most effectively to have the reader identify with the unnamed partner in a dialogue/monologue that becomes increasingly chilling. I think this is a prime candidate for book club discussions and strongly recommend it.
reviewed The Reluctant Fundamentalist on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A quick read, written in the style of a (very one-sided) conversation. I found it easier to follow because it's exactly like listening to an oral story. Hamid's young hero has a very clear voice. It is interesting to listen to him tell about life before and after 9/11 in New York and Princeton and Pakistan. The story holds elements of romance and drama. Anyone with interest in international perspectives of America will also be interested.
esjro avatar reviewed The Reluctant Fundamentalist on + 902 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
In The Reluctant Fundamentalist Changez, a young Pakistani man, tells you (the American reader) the story of how he became an American then went home again. After graduating from Princeton, Changez gets a prestigious position with a firm that values companies in preparation for their sales. He earns a decent salary, the respect of his colleagues, and falls in love with an American woman.

After 9/11, things begin to fall apart for Changez. He experiences anti-Arab backlash from 9/11 and (perhaps even worse)overly-PC and almost condescending sensitivity towards him as a Pakistani. When problems in Pakistan affecting his family become too distracting and his romance with Erica, the American girl, comes to a dead end, Changez is forced to reexamine the person he has become.

Although this book is a quick read, it is very insightful. The honesty of the narrator reveals how complicated it can be to have conflicting allegiances.
brittanyjackson avatar reviewed The Reluctant Fundamentalist on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid is an incredible, mind altering story filled with ominous suspense, and an attentive outside view of America.

The story is told in an interesting way, narrated by Changez to an American acquaintance while sitting at a café in Lahore. I both liked and disliked this style of storytelling. In the beginning I had a difficult time connecting with the characters, but that changed as I came to the middle and end of the story. The conversational tone made the book quick and easy to read.
Changez tells his story of attending college in America and excelling in the corporate world. After 9/11, though, his life in the US begins to unravel as he feels torn between his roots in Pakistan and his new life in America. All the while, Changez engages in a doomed love affair with Erica, this golden girl drowning in her love for her dead boyfriend.

I feel as though the relationship Changez had with Erica was a metaphor for his relationship with America and being American. He fell fast and hard, quickly becoming a part of her world. He accompanied her to many events and parties and was accepted easily, but still felt like an outsider on some level. After 9/11 she withdrew from him, making him less a part of her world and then shutting him out altogether. She longed for something that was no longer attainable; Changez longed to feel a part of her world again, even if that meant pretending to be someone he wasnt.

I loved seeing America through Changezs eyes. I thought that reading this book wouldnt alter my perspective too much because Im a fan of novels set in the Middle East. I thought my perspectives had been changed a long while ago. In the story, Changez talks about how little America experiences the effects of war at home. War isnt fought on our soil. We dont fear for our lives and our safety everyday like so many other people around the world. Changezs home country of Pakistan was NOT at war with America or Afghanistan, yet they felt the impact much more deeply than we did as Americans. In this way, my view of the world has been profoundly altered. I would recommend this book if only just for the new outlook.
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