The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

I can't remember where I first read about this book, but I added it to my TBR and I'm glad I did. The story begins as our protagonist Changez meets an American stranger at a cafe in Lahore. He recounts to the American his own experience in America, graduating from Princeton and working in corporate New York City, and his struggle to maintain his old way of life after the 9/11 attacks.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist examines the shifting identity of a Pakistani man who is at odds with both his home country and the country that has been his home for years, America. He is uncertain of his place in the world, both physically and mentally:
I was a modern-day janissary, a servant of the American empire at a time when it was invading a country with a kinship to mine and was perhaps even colluding to ensure that my own country faced the threat of war. Of course I was struggling! Of course I felt torn!
The structure and conversational tone of the narrative makes the novel quite powerful. It offers a glimpse into the life of Muslim who was proud of his accomplishments and life in the US, but quickly became disenchanted with its inner-workings and at odds with his own identity.

Publisher: Mariner, 2007


  1. This looks like a really interesting book and a point of view I don't think I've personally encountered before. I may need to go check it out.

  2. This is something I'm going to have to read. I've heard similar stories and an intrigued to see how it evolves in a novel.

  3. Read this book a few years back and enjoyed it. I really liked how the author didn't try to glorify fundamentalists or treat Changez as a victim. Overall, I thought it was a very honest look at biculturalism in America. Great review!

  4. Looks like a very interesting book. Thanks for putting it up on my radar screen.

  5. Red, I suggest you do it is very interesting.

    Loni, Read it for sure!

    Jenna, I'm glad you enjoyed it as well.

    Man of la Book, Glad I could!

  6. Sounds really fascinating - I will keep an eye out for it.