The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin HamidThe Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

byMohsin Hamid

Paperback | April 8, 2008

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The New York Times bestselling novel, Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Funamentalist is brilliant and powerful, and now a major motion picture!

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is the story of Changez, a young, Princeton-educated Pakistani who goes on to work at a prestigious financial analysis firm in New York City and falls in love with a woman from the upper echelons of New York society. He seems to have achieved the American dream--until 9/11 devastates the city. As the woman and city he loves suffer from new wounds and old scars, Changez finds that his place in society had shifted. With the world seemingly crumbling in front of him, Changez must decide where his true loyalties lie--with his adopted country or his homeland.

Mohsin Hamid grew up in Lahore, attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School and worked for several years as a management consultant in New York. His first novel, Moth Smoke, was published in ten languages and was a winner of a Betty Trask award, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and a New York Times Notable Book of the Y...
Title:The Reluctant FundamentalistFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 7.98 × 5.18 × 0.56 inPublished:April 8, 2008Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385663455

ISBN - 13:9780385663458


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read this novel in less than a day! After reading and loving 'Exit West', I wanted to read another novel by this intelligent author. I was not disappointed and read this book in less than a day. It is uniquely and refreshingly written as a monologue. The line that stays with me and that I continue to ponder is " country inflicts death so readily upon the inhabitants of other countries, frightens so many people so far away, as America'. A very interesting perspective and a very intelligent, thought-provoking read...
Date published: 2018-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Very unique sstyle of writing which made the book a thrill to read
Date published: 2018-08-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Trendy Good book, however, if there is any criticsm to be made, is that it hits upon very topical issues without analysing them in much depth. The book can at times be very predictable and a Little un-imaginative. A good example of this is with Erica's character, Erica being short for America, who symbolises the American dream, one that he never manages to obtain. Still an enjoyable read, maybe just not as iconic as most people would desrcibe it to be
Date published: 2018-08-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Brilliant and thought-provoking Mohsin Hamid weaves a brilliant tale of love, loss, and the pursuit of personal integrity, ultimately demonstrating the significance of national and religious identity in a supposedly tolerant postcolonial world. The protagonist is an intelligent, young Pakistani man who ventures from his dilapidated family home in Lahore to the US to obtain an Ivy League education and embark on a career at a prestigious valuation firm in New York City. He immerses himself in the local culture and enjoys a period of financial and social success, which prompts him to begin to regard himself as a proud, open-minded New Yorker. However, when the catastrophic events of 9/11 unfold around him, and the racist and Islamophobic attitudes of much of the general population are abruptly exposed, the cultural differences between the East and the West are accentuated and he becomes progressively more disenchanted with his materialistic, self-absorbed, secular life in the US. When he is rejected by the beautiful American woman with whom he has fallen in love, he is finally pushed past his breaking point and he realizes that his loyalties lie not with the promised land of the US, but with his homeland Pakistan, and that he could not in good conscience continue living as he has in NYC. His ensuing identity crisis and its ramifications provide a disquieting, thought-provoking end to a powerful story.
Date published: 2018-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a good book This is one of those books that stick with you, even years later. I have read it several times. Highly recommend!
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific Really well done, very happy to have read the book
Date published: 2017-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Anything but reluctant Hadn't read anything this good in a long time. Mohsin Hamid blew me away with his writing - very unique style. Well thought. Great read. A definite must!
Date published: 2013-12-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Read This book was really unexpected. It keeps you guessing and has a bit of a thriller quality about it. It's well written and was an enjoyable read.
Date published: 2012-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking Thriller The author of the Reluctant Fundamentalist uses monologue in a very interesting way. While reading the story, it kind of makes you wonder if are you the one being talked to or not. If one can explain the experience, it is up to the reader to decide. I really recommend this book because it will help you open your mind by experiencing the perspective on what it would feel like if you are a Middle Eastern man in post 9/11 America.
Date published: 2011-12-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thought provoking and interesting It seems like while we are sitting in one of the popular restaurants of Lahore (Pakistan) savouring the busy atmosphere of the city at dusk, we overhear one side of the conversation between a native Pakistani man, a former American immigrant, and an American visitor. During the course of their dinner, the one voiced dialogue reveals the real identity of the characters and the connection between them. As the ominous darkness slowly creeps into the town, so does the tension escalates between the two men as they say good bye to each other. It’s an enjoyable book to read.
Date published: 2007-12-29

Read from the Book

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. I noticed that you were looking for something; more than looking, in fact you seemed to be on a mission, and since I am both a native of this city and a speaker of your language, I thought I might offer you my services.How did I know you were American? No, not by the color of your skin; we have a range of complexions in this country, and yours occurs often among the people of our northwest frontier. Nor was it your dress that gave you away; a European tourist could as easily have purchased in Des Moines your suit, with its single vent, and your button­down shirt. True, your hair, short­cropped, and your expansive chest – the chest, I would say, of a man who bench­presses regularly, and maxes out well above two­twenty­five – are typical of a certain type of American; but then again, sportsmen and soldiers of all nationalities tend to look alike. Instead, it was your bearing that allowed me to identify you, and I do not mean that as an insult, for I see your face has hardened, but merely as an observation.Come, tell me, what were you looking for? Surely, at this time of day, only one thing could have brought you to the district of Old Anarkali – named, as you may be aware, after a courtesan immured for loving a prince – and that is the quest for the perfect cup of tea. Have I guessed correctly? Then allow me, sir, to suggest my favorite among these many establishments. Yes, this is the one. Its metal chairs are no better upholstered, its wooden tables are equally rough, and it is, like the others, open to the sky. But the quality of its tea, I assure you, is unparalleled.You prefer that seat, with your back so close to the wall? Very well, although you will benefit less from the intermittent breeze, which, when it does blow, makes these warm afternoons more pleasant. And will you not remove your jacket? So formal! Now that is not typical of Americans, at least not in my experience. And my experience is substantial: I spent four and a half years in your country. Where? I worked in New York, and before that attended college in New Jersey. Yes, you are right: it was Princeton! Quite a guess, I must say.What did I think of Princeton? Well, the answer to that question requires a story. When I first arrived, I looked around me at the Gothic buildings – younger, I later learned, than many of the mosques of this city, but made through acid treatment and ingenious stonemasonry to look older – and thought, This is a dream come true. Princeton inspired in me the feeling that my life was a film in which I was the star and everything was possible. I have access to this beautiful campus, I thought, to professors who are titans in their fields and fellow students who are philosopher­kings in the making.I was, I must admit, overly generous in my initial assumptions about the standard of the student body. They were almost all intelligent, and many were brilliant, but whereas I was one of only two Pakistanis in my entering class – two from a population of over a hundred million souls, mind you – the Americans faced much less daunting odds in the selection process. A thousand of your compatriots were enrolled, five hundred times as many, even though your country’s population was only twice that of mine. As a result, the non­Americans among us tended on average to do better than the Americans, and in my case I reached my senior year without having received a single B.Looking back now, I see the power of that system, pragmatic and effective, like so much else in America. We international students were sourced from around the globe, sifted not only by well­honed standardized tests but by painstakingly customized evaluations – interviews, essays, recommendations – until the best and the brightest of us had been identified. I myself had among the top exam results in Pakistan and was besides a soccer player good enough to compete on the varsity team, which I did until I damaged my knee in my sophomore year. Students like me were given visas and scholarships, complete financial aid, mind you, and invited into the ranks of the meritocracy. In return, we were expected to contribute our talents to your society, the society we were joining. And for the most part, we were happy to do so. I certainly was, at least at first.Every fall, Princeton raised her skirt for the corporate recruiters who came onto campus and – as you say in America – showed them some skin. The skin Princeton showed was good skin, of course – young, eloquent, and clever as can be – but even among all that skin, I knew in my senior year that I was something special. I was a perfect breast, if you will – tan, succulent, seemingly defiant of gravity – and I was confident of getting any job I wanted.Except one: Underwood Samson & Company. You have not heard of them? They were a valuation firm. They told their clients how much businesses were worth, and they did so, it was said, with a precision that was uncanny. They were small – a boutique, really, employing a bare minimum of people – and they paid well, offering the fresh graduate a base salary of over eighty thousand dollars. But more importantly, they gave one a robust set of skills and an exalted brand name, so exalted, in fact, that after two or three years there as an analyst, one was virtually guaranteed admission to Harvard Business School. Because of this, over a hundred members of the Princeton Class of 2001 sent their grades and résumés to Underwood Samson. Eight were selected – not for jobs, I should make clear, but for interviews – and one of them was me.

Bookclub Guide

1. The speech of the narrator, Changez, is rendered in a very literary, formal style. Why does the author choose to do this? How would it have affected your impression of the book if Changez’s speech had been reported in a more naturally conversational way?2. Does the fact that we hear none of the American’s speech lead you to identify with him as the listener? Or does it suggest the American is hiding something?3. None of the names – from Underwood Samson to Erica to the Pearl Continental hotel – has been chosen casually. How conscious were you of their significance as you read the story?4. At the foot of page 45, Changez remarks: “Yes, we have acquired a certain familiarity with the recent history of our surroundings, and that – in my humble opinion – allows us to put the present into much better perspective.” How significant is this comment?5. What devices and allusions does the author use to create a sense of increasing danger?6. How important to the novel is Changez’s relationship with Erica?7. On page 114, Changez says: “I did not know whether I believed in the truth of their [Erica and Chris’s] love; it was, after all, a religion that would not accept me as a convert.” Why does he express himself in these terms?8. Does it seem logical to you that Changez abandons his career?9. Do you think Changez tells the whole truth to the American?10. What is about to happen at the end of the book?

Editorial Reviews

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE!FILM RELEASE: Scheduled in North America for April 26th.BIG CAST: Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber and Riz Ahmed are featured in this film, directed by Mira Nair (The Namesake)."[An] elegant and chilling little novel... Hamid's novel... is distinguished by its portrayal of Changez's class aspirations and inner struggle. His resentment is at least in part self-loathing, directed at the American he'd been on his way to becoming... Aptly captures the ethos and hypocrises of the Ivy League meritocracy...  [With] an Arabian Nights-style urgency... The fundamentalist, and potential assassin, may be sitting on either side of the table." --The New York Times"[A] taut and absolutely absorbing second novel... The Reluctant Fundamentalist is at least as much about the apparent unease felt by the listener -- and reader -- in hearing the story, as it is about the growing sense of cultural displacement described by Changez. Hamid... makes it impossible for the reader to know for certain what danger actually lurks or whether the reader's perceived sense of dread and underlying malice is nothing more than the product of an overactive, media-fed imagination." --Toronto Star