The Reluctant Fundamentalist

  • by Mohsin Hamid
  • Narrated by Satya Bhabha
  • 4 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

At a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with a suspicious, and possibly armed, American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful meeting. Changez is living an immigrant's dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by Underwood Samson, an elite firm that specializes in the valuation of companies ripe for acquisition. He thrives on the energy of New York. But in the wake of September 11, he finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned. And Changez's own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and perhaps even love.


What the Critics Say

"Bhabha's English-influenced Pakistani accent proves soothing and inviting for listeners." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


What would have made The Reluctant Fundamentalist better?

I was expecting a consistent and persuasive account of how a Westernized young man can adopt (or rise to) fundamentalism. All I found is Hollywoodian run-of-the-mill storyboard made to become a movie, and thus directly falls target to its own criticism of being driven by capitalist motivations.Half the book is about the protagonist's professional life. Very detailed in the beginning (garduation from Princeton, job interview, etc) but sketchy and precipitated towards the end as the hero embraces fundamentalism. The other half of the book is intertwined with the first one and describes his romantic -- and occasionally erotic -- relation with an American girl. The mixture is not a happy one. I wish some repetitive romantic stretches were replaced by a better explanation of the fundamentalist motives.

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- VKassardjian

Not about Fundamentalism in its usual sense.

Skillfully written and a fascinating read. The point of view is first person narrative as told by the main character Changez, a Pakistani. Changez has spent 4+ years living in the U.S, attending Princeton University then finally getting a job in N.Y. at a management consulting firm (the letters of whose name also are U.S.) He chances upon an American on the street and invites him to sit down in an outdoor cafe to have some tea. There he spends several hours talking to the American while the two of them share tea and then a meal in an outdoor market place in Lahore. We never find out the American's name or occupation nor why he is there in Pakistan. He is dressed rather formally and seems to have a bulge under his suit jacket (a gun?)
We also do not hear any of the words spoken by the American man but his reactions, questions and answers are revealed by the narrator.
Changez: "I went to university in New Jersey."

Changez: "Why yes you have guessed that it was Princeton"

Changez: "Oh yes, I liked it very much."

It is a very unique method of telling a written story.
From the conversation we see that Changez, at first, loves his new life in the U.S. feeling fortunate to be a part of such a modern and progressive and forward thinking world. A world where nearly anyone can be successful. He even has the fortune of falling in love with a beautiful American woman. He seems happy. His job takes him around the world, where he is proud to be mistaken as an American.

Then while away on a trip in Manila he is watching the TV as a plane flies into the Twin Towers on 9/11. Returning to N.Y. he begins to notice that Americans, who have previously admired and befriended him, begin to act suspicious of him. He notes that the citizens of New York begin to rally around their flag. He feels like an outsider. Reluctantly he returns to his home in Pakistan to teach at a university there, getting involved in a nationalistic group.
I'll leave the rest and f
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- Paula

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-09-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.