The Reluctant Fundementalist by Mohsin Hamid is one of those books I’d heard of in an abstract way but never really got around to seeking it out. I happened to grab it at the library when I was looking for some slimmer reads for the last readathon, but left it sitting on my table until I heard Book Riot mention it on their podcast. (Some idiot student objected to this book and others required for the Literature of 9/11 course offered at the University of South Carolina.)
I’m glad I finally read it. The main character is from Pakistan, a man named Changez. He tells his story to an American visitor as they eat in a cafe in his hometown, and talks about his experiences as a young man in America – his desire to succeed at a prestigious company in NYC, and of falling in love with a distraught young woman. It takes place before and after 9/11, so you can see the shift that occurs in him once the towers are hit.
My thoughts on this are still percolating, and feel free to disagree with me at any point because at this point I’m kind of musing out loud. It feels like a very real look at how 9/11 led to an increase in prejudice, and how that prejudice has affected others. It looks at the impact of American foreign policy, and how it affects other country’s feelings and perceptions. It demonstrates that it’s possible to object to American foreign policy even while loving America and it’s people. Definitely a thought-provoking book and worth the read, even though I didn’t love the kind of non-ending it had.
Has anyone reading this ever seen Felicia Day’s show The Guild? I haven’t – I didn’t know who Felicia Day was until I saw Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog for the first time – but I totally want to check it out now. (She also has a book club called Vaginal Fantasy – check it out on Goodreads and Youtube. I don’t have much interest in this month’s picks, but I want to join in on it soon).
Anyways, You’re Never Weird on the Internet! and Felicia is pretty right about that. I just want to hug her. She seems like the COOLEST person. And I found her career so awe-inspiring – not really getting the acting jobs she wanted, she eventually made herself sit down and write something and it turned into a super popular web show that totally changed her life. She has so much tenacity and determination and I need more of that in my life. I love the feeling of THE INTERNET IS SO AMAZING WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE and I feel like it’s going to be a theme in a lot of memoirs in the coming years – so many amazing people are famous and doing incredible things now just because of the internet. And because the internet is so cool, I’m going to check out The Guild soon and start reading some Vaginal Fantasy book picks so I can cyber hang out with Felicia Day.
Also, if you haven’t watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog then you need to do that ASAP. It’s like 45 minutes long, I know you can squeeze it in.