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1 March 2007
1 March 2007, by Mohsin Hamid
The novel uses the technique of a frame story, which takes place during the course of a single evening in an outdoor Lahore cafe, where a bearded Pakistani man called Changez tells a nervous American stranger about his love affair with an American woman, and his eventual abandonment of America.
The major themes in The Reluctant Fundamentalist revolve around Changez's status as an immigrant in America as well as the nature of identity in general. Even with the privilege he enjoys, we see how Changez's experience is characterized by self-doubt and conflicting feelings of loyalty and belonging. We also see how his identity fluctuates, never static, always changing in relation to the world around him.
The Stranger, Erica, Jim, The Waiter, Wainwright, Juan-Batista, Jeepney driver.
A short story is adapted from the novel, called "Focus on the Fundamentals," appeared in the fall 2006 issue of The Paris Review.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist became a million-copy international best-seller. It reached #4 on the New York Times Best Seller list. On November 5, 2019, the BBC News listed The Reluctant Fundamentalist on its list of the 100 most influential novels. A film adaptation of the novel by director Mira Nair premiered at the 2012 Venice Film Festival.
“Time only moves in one direction. Remember that. Things always change.”
“I responded to the gravity of an invisible moon at my core, and I undertook journeys I had not expected to take.”
“...status, as in any traditional, class-conscious society, declines more slowly than wealth.”
“It is the effect of scarcity; one’s rules of propriety make one thirst for the improper.”