At a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an American stranger. As dusk deepens to dark, he begins the tale that has brought him to this fateful meeting.
Among the brightest and best of his graduating class at Princeton, Changez is snapped up by Underwood and Samson, an elite firm that specializes in valuation of companies ripe for acquisition. He thrives on New York and the intensity of his work and his infatuation with the beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore. But in the wake of September 11, he finds his position in the city he loves suddenly overturned and his budding relationship with Erica eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez's own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental thanmoney, power and perhaps even love.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a riveting and devastating exploration of our divided and yet ultimately indivisible world, with echoes of Fitzgerald and Camus. Mohsin Hamid's exceptionally taut and gripping novel gently explores the fault lines between the American West and the Islamic East. Hamid seems to have pulled off the near impossible. This is a meditative novel written in an introspective manner - but this is also a deeply suspenseful work, the sense of anticipation heightened by Hamid's wonderful use of restraint.