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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Author: Mohsin Hamid
Paperback
Language: English
Length: 225 Pages
Publisher: Penguin Books India
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The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Paperback) Price: Rs.140

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a deeply engaging novel written by Mohsin Hamid. It takes place in one single evening at a cafe in Lahore, and is set as a monologue by the protagonist describing to an American stranger, his love affair with an American woman, and why he chose to leave America to finally return to his homeland, Pakistan.

Summary Of The Book

The Reluctant Fundamentalist begins with Changez, the protagonist, who is a Princeton graduate in Finance with brilliant grades and a bright future, and got himself a well paying consulting job with Underwood Samson, an elite company that specialized in acquisitions. While vacationing with fellow Princetonians, he meets Erica, an aspiring writer, and is instantly attracted to her. Soon, they embark on an intense and complex relationship.

Meanwhile, he advances in his professional life and is sent abroad on various assignments by his superiors who are fairly impressed with his performance. Passionate about his work, he loves living in New York city, and is practically living the American dream. However, as the political climate in the world undergoes a change, he finds himself distracted by certain events. After the catastrophic September 11 attacks in America, his privileged existence can never be the same again, as he detects undercurrents of mistrust all around him, and a change in the attitude of the Americans towards him.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an introspective and thought-provoking novel that vividly captures and explores Changez's struggles to search for his place in a once beloved country of dreams. Aware of the fact that his homeland Pakistan is now viewed with utmost suspicion by the United States, and seeing the gap between the West and the Islamic East further widening, Changez’s own identity is put to test as he finds himself compelled to pursue his thoughts, beliefs, and ideals.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist has been praised by critics, readers, and media worldwide. Ranked fourth on the New York Times Bestseller List, the novel sold millions of copies. It was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2007, and went on to win multiple awards. A Hollywood movie based on the book and directed by Mira Nair was released in 2012.

About Mohsin Hamid

Mohsin Hamid is an acclaimed and award-winning Pakistani writer.

He has written two other novels, namely, Moth Smoke and How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia.

His novels are considered contemporary and depictive of modern South Asian fiction. He is known to be experimental in his writing, opting for unconventional styles such as the use of dramatic monologue.

Mohsin Hamid spent his childhood in the United States, and later returned to Lahore where he studied at the Lahore American School. He went back to pursue his higher education, and graduated from Princeton in 1993. He then attended Harvard Law School studying Corporate Law, and took up a consulting job with McKinsey & Company based in New York. He currently lives in Lahore with his wife and daughter, alternating his time between Lahore, London, and the United States. He regularly writes journalistic pieces on art, literature, and politics for the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian.

Specifications of The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Paperback)

Contributors
Authored By Mohsin Hamid
Book Details
Publisher Penguin Books India
Imprint Penguin
Publication Year 2008 June
ISBN-13 9780143064244
ISBN-10 014306424X
Language English
Edition 01
Binding Paperback
Number of Pages 225 Pages
Territorial Rights Afghanistan
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Book Reviews of The Reluctant Fundamentalist

4.1
Average Rating
Based on 52 ratings
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Most Helpful Reviews (5 of 18)

★★★★★
★★★★★
10 February 12
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Not quite there, yet at the same time POWERFUL

b4 anything else, kudos to Mohsin Hamid for attempting a monologue that lasted the whole novel, all 184 pages, and for never letting it go haywire.
unapologetic, frank, not always inclined at being politically correct, charming, seductively polite, a straight-A Princeton graduate, an Underwood Sampsons employee earning $80,000 and a man who made it his mission, on returning to his homeland in Pakistan, as a profeesor in a university, 'to advocate Pakistan's disengagement with America'. That's what our reluctant fundamentalist is like.

the beginning was good in the sense that it was a flat 2 days delivery and this slim book served as good company on an otherwise boring department picnic.

i kept expecting for the monologue to end, for i found it really odd, never having read anything of this sort earlier, but it didn't and though it could never escape my consciousness till the very end that it was after all still a monologue, i guess the unfamiliarity soon disappeared. Changez was the last name on earth i expected the protagonist to have, and honestly, i kept searching for the genius behind the name throughout, without any success. His unusual relationship with his girlfriend ERICA (for AMERICA) and his rapid elevations in his company Underwood Sampsons (for US)as also the motto of his company- stick to the fundamentals (referring to his reluctant fundamentalism)gave the story a good build-up for the ensuing gravity and brilliance. the unfinished love story and the abrupt, ambiguous ending added depth.

everything good, then why only 3 stars?
because, m still not clear whether i liked this book or not.
it was sort of a love-hate relationship. i absolutely loved the parts of Erica and Changez and the element of 'understatement' throughout the narrative but somehow, i didn't find the story unforgettable.
for some, the ending was brilliant for it provided food for thought and was open to speculation and all sorts of interpretations. but to me, that in itself was a weakness.
i closed the book with a feeling of being unsatiated, having chewed and gulped much with the appetite still unsatisfied.

a good, short read, but one that finished without making much of an impact. at times brilliant, at times powerful, but for some reason, not quite there.

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4 of 4 users found this review helpful.
This review was written for The Reluctant Fundamentalist
★★★★★
★★★★★
28 August 12
Unputdownable...

I don't know why, but there is something intriguing about the book. You won't be able to put it down until you complete reading it.

The authors never seem to surprise me. They every time come up with a new style of writing. The story starts like this...

'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..."

The story continues like this through out the narration. You feel like, even when you are not, that you are with the author seated at a cafe in Lahore.

The story was good. In fact, a very well. But at the end the story ends abruptly. The end is left to our imagination. So it didn't serve the purpose I read stories (I read stories because they end)...

Worth a read and I am sure it is unputdownable...

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1 of 1 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
24 August 12
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certified buyer
It could have been Better...

Not as impressive as the summary. The author could have unfolded the suspense with some END than leaving it as a guess.

On positive note, good read. The whole book is in monologue. I could understand the listener's compulsion to stay on as the narration was so gripping.

The story narrated so beautifully giving insight to the psyche of both sides of coin. This could have been possible only if a person has experienced both sides of the world.

However, the author has been very biased with his own country and looking at the entire world for the condition of his country. Though i really loved the statement "someone had to bring the most powerful nation on its knees"

As a reader, very intriguing and good book. Only thing lacked was something should have come out of the meeting with the stranger.

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0 of 0 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
26 October 13
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certified buyer
a brilliant insight to the mind of a young man who's confused between choosing an american or pakistani dream

i ordered this book after hearing about it for about a year from friends all over the place and reading about the author's gruesome and chilling way of understanding a young pakistani man from a used to be feudal family who's trying to chase a dream but is confused about which dream to pursue.i found the book long enough to get in to the skin and head of changez and to mohsin hamid's credit short enough to no be preached on racial and religious biases that exist world over.
read the book whether your an asian muslim of south asia or a christian of n.america or an atheist like me.the story is gripping,thrilling,chilling and devastatingly true of our contemporary world

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0 of 0 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
03 February 12
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certified buyer
Read only for its prose!

Hello everyone!

"The Reluctant Fundamentalist", sounds very intelligent! But the book fails to establish this connection through its story. I found the protagonist extremely confused, he is not sure whether he is reluctant or a fundamentalist. In between, is his love story, contributing nothing to the story that he wants to tell. There are lose remarks made about India and America, he does not substantiate on why he said that. If you have to read, i would suggest you to do so for its fine prose (yeah! the writer is gifted with vivid descriptions) and for its technique of narrating the story through monologue.

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1 of 1 users found this review helpful.

Most Recent Reviews

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★★★★★
★★★★★
Good narration Style....

Story line is ok... with same old plot PRE 9/11 and Post 9/11, what I liked is the narration style of author..

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06 February 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
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certified buyer
spellbound

it is a unputdownable book......... the best in asian fiction. mohsin hamid shows y so many things r right with the english wri...

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27 January 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
The 'certified buyer' badge indicates that this user has purchased this product on flipkart.com.
certified buyer
a brilliant insight to the mind of a young man who's confused between choosing an american or pakistani dream

i ordered this book after hearing about it for about a year from friends all over the place and reading about the author's grue...

Read More
26 October 13
This review was written for The Reluctant Fundamentalist
★★★★★
★★★★★
A bewildered work

Moth Smoke was far better book. The reluctant of Fundamental was more of love then a reluctant fundamental .Not a politically b...

Read More
11 April 13
★★★★★
★★★★★
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certified buyer
Wont recommend!

This is a beautifully written book but it has too much of 'TOO MUCH' in it. I wonder why is it not placed in the Adult category...

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25 December 12
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    ISBN Number: 014306424X, 9780143064244, 978-0143064244

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