the reluctant fundamentalist

This is the most enlightening book I’ve read on Pakistan-US relations in the aftermath of 2001 (no shade to Malala), probably because the writing style is so delightfully tongue-in-cheek while still sincerely touching on some of the most engaging, interesting paradoxes of intimacy among people and what it means to feel at home. I love any narration that pushes against convention and instead builds on culture, and that is exactly what Hamid manages to do with his conversational tone and beautiful portrayal of different worlds. Somehow he manages to communicate a foreigner’s awe and appreciation for America but without naivety or blind optimism, and the ending, despite the hollowness of Erica’s character, so so so perfectly captures the weird mixture of authenticity and distrust that has come to characterize international affairs.

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