The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid | Book Review

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid | Book Review

This book offers beautiful writing and delights with a very sharp approach to the question of identity, “cultural power”, cultural clash between the West and the East in a context of the dominance of one powerful country such as the United States (US) prior and after the attacks on the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001.

The themes in the ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ are diverse and portrayed in a very nuanced manner. In one of the interviews, Mohsin Hamid said that the objective of this book  was to be like a mirror to the reader, to confuse the reader in order to show that the characters in this book are as complex, multidimensional, can be many things, with many identities as the people in our world.

There is no reference to religion, faith, or spirituality anywhere in the book. It is fair to say that the term: Fundamentalist’ often carries the meaning associated with religion but NOT here. ‘Fundamentalist’ refers to the business activity which will be explained in more detail later in the text.

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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid | Book Review

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid  | Book Review

“(…) but that is the way of things, for when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind”.

 “(..) to love is to enter into the inevitability of one day being able to protect what is most valuable to you”.

“We are all migrants through time”.  

“Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid is a tale about migration, through places, time, cultures. The story of the main protagonists, Nadia and Saeed,  explores many intersecting themes including the position of women living independently in a patriarchal society, a portrayal of destruction and mass violence caused by wars, the meaning of home, of belonging, of being a refugee, migrant through time and places, a portrayal of grief after losing the loved ones and over relationships ending, a relation with one’s family, culture, the significance of our personal dreams and of objects in one’s life and its association with the lives of others, the meaning of religious and cultural rituals, a portrayal of loving and nurturing relationship between parents and their child and the list goes on.

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