The Reluctant Fundamentalist


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Product Description

Short-listed for the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. At a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. As dusk deepens, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful encounter.208p.

Editorial Reviews

A young Muslim's American experience raises his consciousness and shapes his future in this terse, disturbing successor to the London-based Pakistani author's first novel, Moth Smoke (2000).It's presented as a ";;;conversation,";;; of which we hear only the voice of protagonist Changez, speaking to the unnamed American stranger he encounters in a café;;; in the former's native city of Lahore. Changez describes in eloquent detail his arrival in America as a scholarship student at Princeton, his academic success and lucrative employment at Underwood Samson, a ";;;valuation firm";;; that analyzes its clients' businesses and counsels improvement via trimming expenses and abandoning inefficient practices—i.e., going back to ";;;fundamentals.";;; Changez's success story is crowned by his semi-romantic friendship with beautiful, rich classmate Erica, to whom he draws close during a summer vacation in Greece shared by several fellow students. But the idyll is marred by Erica's distracted love for a former boyfriend who died young and by the events of 9/11, which simultaneously make all ";;;foreigners";;; objects of suspicion. Changez reacts in a manner sure to exacerbate such suspicions (";;;I was caught up in the symbolism of it all, the fact that someone had so visibly brought America to her knees";;;). A visit home to a country virtually under siege, a breakdown that removes the fragile Erica yet further from him and the increasing enmity toward ";;;non-whites";;; all take their toll: Changez withdraws from his cocoon of career and financial security (";;;. . . my days of focusing on fundamentals were done";;;) and exits the country that had promised so much, becoming himself the bearded, vaguely menacing ";;;stranger";;; who accompanies his increasingly worried listener to the latter's hotel. The climax builds with masterfully controlled irony and suspense.A superb cautionary tale, and a grim reminder of the continuing cost of ethnic profiling, miscommunication and confrontation. Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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