Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid

I have very little to say about this tiny little novel. I read it because my book club requested we read it. I have read two otehr novels dealing with the aftermath of September 11th. Both Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close and The Falling Man are incredible novels dealing with the emotional toll of September 11th.

Hamid's novel doesn't so much deal with emotions. The story is told from one voice. The narrator, speaker, sits down with a stranger in a restaurant. The entire novel involves the narrator speaking. A one sided perspective on the past. On going to college in New York, falling in love, being forced to deal with dark skin in a post-9/11 NYC, etc. In all honesty, the novel is almost as cliched as one would expect.

What saves this novel besides its small size? The writing. The prose is beautiful. Some of the passages are written so crisply I was shocked and saddened for such beauty to be wasted on the miserable plot.

The love interest, Erica, is never fully realized. Her character fills in as a mysterious back story never completed. And, honestly, her story is the most interesting. I wanted more of Erica. I wanted to believe she was able to love the narrator. Or, that the narrator really loved Erica. Their relationship felt so shallow.

As I said, I have little to write about. I forced myself to the end based solely on being able to make small, snide remarks during the book discussion.

The only positive... there are moments I felt like Hamid may have been a little influenced by Marguerite Duras' The Lover. And, that is never a bad thing.


No comments:

Post a Comment