I’m definitely not being paid for it but I am anyway : risking credibility (the little that I have) for a book without reading it. Maybe is because with his 1st book, Mohsin Hamid proved himself to be a bloody good writer. From a the short reading from, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (his new book) in a streaming audio interview on National Public Radio it looks like he’s polished his craft (the interview is about 20mins and is worth the listen). However good writing is not the only reason I’m trumpeting this book.
Its the author-who has interesting (and intelligent) things to say about the recent “then” and the now. Particularly about being one of those from the third world, educated in the first, and understand the messy sensibilities of both. Its a theme that resonates in his previous book, Moth Smoke (there’s another interesting interview with him about it in 2001). In the best story telling tradition, he communicates this theme/sensibility by showing rather than telling. With concrete situations and characters that are quite delightful as well as poignantly authentic.
Moth Smoke also captured an indescribable third world feeling that I have very distinctly experienced but been at a loss to put to words (don’t worry, I won’t try to here). Seems the new book has pushed it further with what seems to be a tighter story.
His work is set around being Pakistani and Muslim etc. Yet I think the inhabitants of the Sri Lankan Blogosphere will find events, places and personalities that are very familer. And even if the you don’t end up liking the book you can at least feel thankful that the situation in Sri Lanka is not as bad as it is in Pakistan (for now).
Wonder how long I’ll have to wait around for it to get here. The only hesitation I have about the credit card and the on-line store (besides the price) is ending up on some database for buying a product with the word “fundamentalist”.