xThe Reluctant Fundamentalist: Book Review

The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the name of this book itself made me a little reluctant to read it. I’d read it in lists of must read books, and new it had inspired a movie, but I never felt inclined to read it. Partially because it’s advertised as a thriller – a genre I rarely touch, and also because I didn’t feel drawn to the subject matter.

The only reason I even bought it was the fact it was in the clearance section at HomeSense and I was leaving for Paris a few days later. It looked like a pretty quick read & I was travelling with Zara so it felt idea. I didn’t end up reading it though, because I got caught up in Mistress of the Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakurni instead on that flight.

When I started my 2018 reading challenge though, it only made sense to read the books that I already had on my bookshelf at home that fit the category. So, I reluctantly read The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and I couldn’t put it down. It’s certainly not the type of thriller I was expecting. I have never read anything like it.

Written from the eyes of Changez – a Pakistani student and professional living in New York both before and after 9/11, it’s chilling. The character takes you on a journey of love, understanding, and patriotism, and even though you might not agree with his choice, you’ll likely understand them, and possibly even respect them?

When the book was done I was unsure (and still am) if I like the character or loathed him (not only because of his fundamentalism, but also his misguided love), but I was positive that Mohsin Hamid is an amazing writer.


Author: Mohsin Hamid
Setting: USA & Pakistan (mainly)

If you are okay with an unsettling but different view of Pakistan and Pakistanis post 9/11 this is a great read. Also, if you enjoy suspenseful page turners, this is the book for you. It will keep you guessing to the very end.

PS: You might also enjoy The Bones of Grace Book Review or Karachi You Are Killing Me