Reagan Ramsey's Reviews > The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
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's review
Nov 30, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: favorite-books
Read in April, 2007

i don't know if everyone would love this book, but i loved it. i thought it was such an interesting character study; you were drawn along this personal evolution from respectful and studious 1st generation american to political vigilante. i like the way hamid made the transition so subtlely; you almost didn't blame the guy for becoming the killer he ultimately became. essentially, the main character starts out as an upstanding young Pakistani, who becomes one of the elite members of a highly reputable valuation firm in New York. Then comes 9/11 and his whole world changes. For one thing, he has to deal with the immediate impact of being thought a terrorist at every turn. But he also finds himself feeling more and more connected with his middle-eastern roots and he becomes more concerned with where he came from than where he has been trying to go. As he witnesses the raw reactions to the 9/11 catastrophe and starts to see himself in in a different light, those goals start to ring false to him because he has lost connection with the place of his birth.
The thing I loved about the book was the idea of understanding the whole of someone's experience before judging their present actions. While and it's not practical to learn everything about a person in order to be fair, I have to wonder how much we misjudge one another. We don't even take a moment to consider what's going on in someone else's head.
That philosophical interlude aside, the book can be tough to read, it ebbs and flows, but overall i thought it gave a full understanding of the character and situation.
I would definitely recommend it.
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