The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid

“If you have ever, sir, been through a breakup of a romantic relationship that involved great love, you will perhaps understand what I experienced. There is in such situations usually a moment of passion during which the unthinkable is said; this is followed by a sense of euphoria at finally being liberated; the world seems fresh as if seen for the first time then comes the inevitable period of doubt, the desperate and doomed backpedaling of regret; and only later, once emotions have receded, is one able to view with equanimity the journey through which one has passed.” 

I really liked this one. Yes, the story is based on cliches - the immigrant from the impoverished background, the Ivy League education, the high-flying career in the field of finance, the girlfriend (herself a metaphor for America) who can't commit because she's clinging to the past - but I really loved the style of the story: the way that the narrator tells the story to the unknown listener, who may be real or imagined, and who may be there to get at the narrator or who may be there by pure chance.

 

The novel thrives on the vagueness and ambiguity of the vantage point. One cannot really know what is going on because each construct of the story changes depending on whether you look at it through the eyes of the narrator or the the fictional character that he is narrating to, or even through the eyes of the reader.