Sunday, 17 May 2009

Moshin Hammad: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

This award winning short novel left me feeling somewhat dissatisfied. It concerns the tale of a bright young Pakistani who graduates top of his class from a top US college and aspires to a glittering career in the world of business only to crash headlong into the new realities and new world visions that came about following the events of September 11. This is a higely important topic but unfortunately I found it very hard to empathise with the main character. His subsequent actions struck me as being the height of idiocy. The main motivation that comes across from the novel is a self centred self destructive jealousy. In Hammad's favour I should acknowledge his clever device of putting the reader into the book as listener to the tale being related by the main protagonist. This works well and by the end of the short novel you are no longer just a listener but active participant. Sadly this ending , though clever, is not enough to rescue the rest of the unsatisfying story.

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