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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid is the story of Changez, who is living the American dream. He’s top in his class at Princeton, working for a successful evaluation firm, and falling in love. Until tragedy strikes on 9/11 and Changez’s initial reaction is to smile. But he is far from an extremist. Following 9/11 he begins to see his position in elite Manhattan society slip, his work begins to fall short, and he suffers an identity crisis. So he gets himself fired and heads back to Lahore, which is where we find him today – narrating his life story to a suspicious tourist over tea and dinner.

This brief, charming, and quietly furious novel recasts a story so familiar as to seem almost banal. Hamid, however, is an artist of fantastic cunning, and his second novel (following the rightly praised Moth Smoke) demonstrates what certain trumped-up laureates of post-modernity seem incapable of grasping: that it is possible to simultaneously address the byzantine monstrosity of contemporary existence and care about the destiny of one's characters. - Fly at a Smile-Price