The Relunctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

I hardly know what to write about this book. I could not put it down. But I can not adequately describe it.

The entire novel takes place in a cafe in Lahore, Pakistan as a conversation between two men. But only one man, the narrator, has a voice. Literally everything in the book is told to you from the one man’s, Changez, speech. He tells his story, a troubling one, describes the scene around him, and reveals the action, as he speaks. I’ve never read a book from this perspective. It captured my attention and wouldn’t let go.

The content intrigued me. It pushed me to deep thought, to see an opposing view, one I’d honestly rather not think about.  I think the author would be pleased.  In an interview on his website, he said that “the core skill of a novelist is empathy.”  And like the title suggests, I was relunctantly empathetic.

I won’t tell any of the plot. But I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys being forced to think beyond themselves and their own worldview.

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