Search Results for: "by mohsin hamid"
Outermost layer 1 (presented in italics): The aging, ailing Emperor Shah Jahan asks a Sufi saint which of his sons will inherit his coveted throne.
Penultimate layer 2 (chapters one and nine, italics lost): An unnamed man in a jail cell “full of shadows” receives an envelope … and eventually begins to read.
The core: The prime characters just happen to share the names of Emperor Shah Jahan’s family. Did you pay attention? And what exactly are their relationships to each other?
Darushikoh Shezad is the man accused. In brave new Pakistan – powered by cell phones and the growing possibility of nuclear power – the once promising Daru has been fired from his bank job. Unable to find work, he loses himself further when his recreational drug use becomes abusive, fueled by his sometime dealer Murad. Recently reunited with his childhood best friend Aurangzeb (Ozi, to his nearest and dearest) who has returned to Pakistan with his American degrees, Daru is immediately enthralled by his almost-brother’s gorgeous new wife Mumtaz. As the title hints, think moths – far too close to the proverbial flame …
Mohsin Hamid – Pakistani-born, Princeton and Harvard educated, peripatetically domiciled – layers, weaves, and transforms his global experiences to create a rare debut novel that hit shelves 13 years ago with confidence and grace, engaging and disturbing both. If you’re wondering about the audible version, it’s read by actor Satya Babha (watch for him in Deepa Mehta’s film adaptation of Midnight’s Children, hitting U.S. theaters this May), and is quite an enriched experience – Babha’s affected stutter for Murad (not on the page), for example, is a daring enhancement.
In the decade-plus that follows Hamid’s lauded literary entry (Moth won a 2001 Betty Trask Award, was a finalist for the 2001 PEN/Hemingway Award, and shortlisted for the 2001 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book), time had only made him better: The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia are both not-to-be-missed-read-right-now(!) titles. That said, I must responsibly offer a sobering reminder: savor Hamid’s novels wisely, because patience will need to be a virtue while we wait, wait, wait for his as-yet-unpublished titles to come.
Published: 2000 Continue reading
I realize it’s only March, but I’m pretty convinced Mohsin Hamid‘s latest will be one of my top three favorites for 2013. True, such a pronouncement might seem rash in a year that will see new titles from Nadeem Aslam (The Blind Man’s Garden next month), Khaled Hosseini (And the Mountains Echoed in May), and Jumpha Lahiri (The Lowland in September). But life is short … so I judge instantly.
If Tash Aw’s latest Five Star Billionaire (his best novel thus far – my review’s been filed and will cross-post here soon-ish) was a savory, satisfying appetizer evoking a taste of accelerating economic power on the other side of the world, then Rich is a complex, rewarding dessert with the perfect blend of lightness and depth.
In another ‘gawww’-induced case of less-is-more (just read Rich already!), here’s a simple overview: the youngest child in a poor rural family moves to the city, becomes a wealthy magnate, and reveals in 12 seemingly simple steps the secrets of his vast success. Lest you think such a tale is all too familiar, I promise you this is a lasting original.
Hamid is a most clever trickster – masterfully sly like no other! – and in just 228 pages, he manages to create a literary tapestry comprised of an everlasting first-love story (“‘Do I look as old as you do?’”), a skewering parody (“The master at whose feet you metaphorically squat is a middle-aged man with the long fingers of an artist and the white-tufted ear hair of a primate resistant to lethal tympanic parasites”), a Midas-scale tragedy (“You take this news as well as possible, which is to say you do not die”), and ultimately, quite the treatise on reading and writing and the intricate relationship in between (“Readers don’t work for writers. They work for themselves. Therein, if you’ll excuse the admittedly biased tone, lies the richness of reading.”)
Presented in a playful, almost cajoling vernacular addressed to ‘you,’ Rich is too delightful to miss. As I said, life is short … read this instantly.
Published: 2013 Continue reading
A deserved Booker 2007 shortlister, Hamid’s slim, powerful title is a deconstruction of the failure of the American Dream for those who look like the enemy. Changez is a young, accomplished Pakistani transplant with a Princeton pedigree, a top Midtown Manhattan money job, and even a growing circle of friends in all the right places. But after the Towers fall, he is under suspicion. Changez looks on as his American Dream pixilates and crumples and once seemingly wide-eyed wonder turns into outrage and betrayal.
Published: 2007 (United States) Continue reading