The Reluctant Fundamentalist
by Mohsin Hamid
It is dusk in a cafe in Lahore. An urbane Pakistani, Changez, speaking fluent English, offers to help an American in his quest for the perfect cup of tea. His charm and hospitality persuade the man to linger as the light fades, the gaudy market lights come on and the streets empty. Meanwhile, he tells his tale.
A brilliant young man from a declining family, Changez won a scholarship to an American university and entered the Ivy League world of privilege. He was one of the select few to be chosen by a renowned valuation company and, with natural talent and fierce application, soon became a rising star of the firm. Meanwhile he had fallen in love with a waspy beauty and was getting used to loft parties in Manhattan and weekends in the Hamptons. Then, on September 11, 2001, it all came to an end.
In this short, cleverly constructed, novel, Hamid combines a love story, a subtle discourse on cultural values and an increasingly tense page-turner.