'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' by Moshin Hamid

book coverThe Reluctant Fundamentalist grabbed me right away because of the perspective between the reader and the narrator of the story.

The narrator, Changaz, speaks directly to the reader through an anonymous listener whom he meets on the streets of Lahore, Pakistan. Changaz offers his guest tea and food and insists on telling his story which takes the length of a day to relate. Changaz is from an educated, old money family that is steadily losing their wealth.

He wins an athletic scholarship to Princeton, which he's proud of, but wants to keep secret from his classmates. He then lands a coveted position in a prestigious firm where he impresses everyone and quickly moves up.

Soon he meets the beautiful but tragic Erica, who is obsessed with a dead lover. Things begin to unravel for him after the events of 9/11, when he finds himself targeted time and again as a suspicious person. After the probable suicide of Erica, Changaz decides to return to Pakistan. And it appears that now he has developed some possible terrorist ties. At nightfall, the storytelling ends and it’s up to the reader to decide what happens next.

Mohsin Hamid is the author of Moth Smoke and his latest book is How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.

-- Hanife Conry