The Reluctant Fundamentalist
by Mohsin Hamid
This was the first book I read for my Easter weekend readathon and it was an excellent start. It’s gripping, beautifully written and warmly inviting. In fact literally so, as it directly addresses a second person – a listener to the tale, inviting you right into the heart of the story.
The setting is Lahore, a cafe in one of the city’s squares, where a local man, Changez (the narrator) has approached an American visitor and offered to act as his guide. Over tea and then dinner, Changez tells his story – one that is surprising and seems to be building up to something.
We learn that Changez spent a few years living in the USA, thanks to an Ivy League scholarship and an excellent job on the back of that. But then everything changed – in his words, the city he loved (New York) and the woman he loved there both betrayed him, though it becomes clear that the reality is more complicated.