Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review-The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Title:         The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Author:      Mohsin Hamid
Pub:          Penguin
ISBN:        978-0-143-06424-4
MRP:         ` 250/-

To say that I simply liked my latest read, ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ would definitely be an understatement. I loved this book immensely and it has now become one of my favorites. Written in a monologue style by Pakistan Born and Harvard educated, Mohsin Hamid, the book makes us ponder on a very important aspect. This thin book (184 pages) is filled with a meaningful and stirring narration.

The story revolves around a young professional named ‘Changez’. He narrates his four year US stay to an American in a local eatery in Lahore. The narration technique is ‘Monologue’, that is only one side describes every detail including the reactions of the other characters as well. The magic of the plot lies in its ending where a powerful secret is revealed in a very subtle way.

Here is the story in brief: Changez arrives to study in Princeton University from Lahore at the age of 18. After his studies are over, he joins a top valuation company. On a camping trip to Greece, he gets smitten by Erica, who suffers from chronic depression. After the twin tower tragedy, Changez gets disturbed by the behavior of Americans towards Muslims and decides to return to his hometown, Lahore. He takes up the job of a university professor. The best thing is the ending that is not only shocking but is in fact a sad reality.
The book seeks to convey that violence is tragic not only for the victim but for the perpetrator as well. How violence can devastate the lives of common people on both the sides and converts them into hardcore ‘fundamentalists’, though ‘reluctantly’ has been described wonderfully by Mr. Hamid.

This book was short-listed for Man Booker Prize 2007.


  1. Any story about behavior of Westerns against Asian after 911 sound similar to others but as you have said, this is slimmer and to the point and very subtle. Must be an interesting read.

  2. interesting!!


  3. hii Abhinav,

    yaa, the narration and ending put life into the story.

  4. hii Shooting star


  5. I have a copy of this one... haven't read as usual.

  6. hii Shakti

    yup I know ;)

  7. I agree. Good read.

  8. Name in itself a paradox:initialy he is a student in the west and shuns bigots and zealots but he himself becomes a fundamenist though he is reluctant.
    NICE WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Write book reviews of some more interesting books.

    Ivan Drago

  9. This one's on my priority reading list! Thanks for the review.

  10. Hi Geetashree

    oki, I am sure u'll enjoy this!

  11. hi Ivan

    thanks a lot!

  12. Hi Ankita!
    Just wanted to ask you "Do you like reading Hindi Mythological fiction?" I want you to read and review a debut novel Swayamvar by Nilabh Verma. If yes, please send me your address so that I can send you the review copy. If no, then it's okay. Thanks!

  13. Hi Tarang

    Thank you for the opportunity! However, I will not be able to do justice with the review as I am not much into Hindi literature.