The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a dark, thought-provoking and intelligent novel, it has been a long time since I had a dictionary by my side when I read a book. But semantics aside Mohsin Hamid’s second book is bold in its premise of September 11th from the stance of the outsider, not of the terrorists, but of the Middle Eastern community that lived in New York at the time of the attacks.
A privileged upbringing in Lahore, Pakistan and Princeton University have afforded Changez a sense of entitlement and belonging. The attacks in New York on September 11th make him feel like an outsider and he becomes increasingly made more aware of his Pakistani origin and his patriotic and family responsibilities.
“Time only moves in one direction, remember that, things always change”
Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
I have always been an outsider. I must be the only mother who waits for her daughter at the school gates immersed in a book rather than chatting about the daily soaps. This is an actuality that no longer concerns me. As a writer I live in a world of my own creation, a world that is constantly fluctuating. I can be anything of my choosing, and I would not choose a normal life. This will always make me an outsider. But the part of my life I do not dream has become monotonous for a while, but time only moves in one direction, and things always change.