The Reluctant Fundamentalist


The Reluctant Fundamentalist opens with a Pakistani man beginning a conversation with an American tourist in a cafe in Lahore.  Told in the second person, this short novel is narrated by Changez, who immigrated to America to attend Princeton and work in a high-power firm that calculates the value of companies around the world.  As he details his life story, he describes a tumultuous relationship with an aspiring writer, his mounting disillusionment with the American dream, and his sudden feeling of being unwelcome in post-9/11 New York.

"But as I reacclimatized and my surroundings once again became familiar, it occurred to me that the house had not changed in my absence. I had changed. I was looking about me with the eyes of a foreigner, but that particular type of entitled and unsympathetic American who so annoyed me when I encountered him in the classrooms and workplaces of your country's elite. This realization angered me; staring at my reflection in the speckled glass of bathroom mirror, I resolved to exorcise the unwelcome sensibility by which I had become possessed."

Mohsin Hamid was born in Lahore, Pakistan and has also lived in California, New York, and London.  His books include Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, and Discontent and Its Civilizations.

Published:  2007
Length:184 pages
Set in:  Lahore, Pakistan; New York City, New York, United States