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.
©2007 Mohsin Hamid; (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks America
"Bhabha's English-influenced Pakistani accent proves soothing and inviting for listeners." (Publishers Weekly)
It's hard to talk about the content of this book because I found the narrative structure so very distracting. The entire book is written from the perspective of one person talking to another one evening. Everything learned about the second person is through the way that the narrator speaks to him. There are a lot of long sessions of the narrator talking about himself, except for the occasional chiding, borderline condescending comment he makes to the person sitting with him. (This structure is apparently called a "frame story".)
The story -- about a Pakistani fellow who goes to America and figures out how to make a ton of money and has an awkward brush with romance, but then chooses to return home and give up that life after seeing the ill treatment suffered by seemingly anyone suspected to hold Islamist beliefs in the U.S. -- is intriguing enough to maintain one's interest for the full ~5 hours, and is even thought-provoking at times, with a bit of a punch to the gut at the end. The narrator is excellent.
This was a very interesting book written from the perspective of a Pakistani man who had achieved the "American Dream" before the 9/11 attack on New York. He is a successful, intelligent man who thrives in New York, but faces an existential crisis when his homeland and home are at war with one another. The story is narrated as a mealtime soliloquy between the protagonist and an unnamed American, as we learn the likeable protagonist's difficult but honest journey from Princeton boy wonder to financial wizard to befuddled bystander to outsider to ex-patriot. I am not sure that all of the emotions associated with this time were really flushed out (e.g., fear, racism), so I imagine the novel could have been longer, but it was a tight, concise, and approachable description of a perspective I would have, admittedly, otherwise not considered.
The narrator is excellent- his Pakistani accent is smooth and velvety, and he transitions to "American finance guy" seamlessly. Listening to the monologue would be much preferred to reading the words, as the narrator is able to illustrate when the protagonist gets "fired up" (the visual reader would only know when, later, he apologizes for his raised voice), and make tangible the protagonist's polite tone (one of the character's defining features).
The fact that I could listen to it while being on a train instead of packing extra weight! Also, how it was written. I was hooked right after the first chapter and the ending was just as different.
The character's love for the girl. It's so well written that you can climb into every character's head.
The book is written in first person and the one character with accent made it seem real.
It made me think about my grandson who is a Yale student and having his first summer intern job in NYC and getting used to it.
I was a high school history teacher and a physician assistant-retired.
The story relates a one-way conversation by a Pakistani-American to an unnamed American with a bulge in his arm pit where something may be concealed. In a restaurant in Lahore, he relates his life story to the American who appears to be in an uncomfortable position.
It is a true American success story where a poor boy reaches the pinnacle of American business only to have second thoughts about his prosperity after 9/11.
Hamid leaves the ending up to our own devices to figure out. However, this makes the story al the more interesting.
I give it three stars because, while interesting, there is really only one character and his development is given away by the title.
There is a lot about this book that is very honest, in terms of the feelings some people have towards this country. And I think it's worth reading--hopefully by mentally balanced individuals.
That said, I hope that none of this book's many admirers take it as justifying or rationalizing terrorism. We all agree that being happy about the killing of innocent people, just because you're uncomfortable with the way their country operates, is not ok, right??? I find the book's ambiguity on that question pretty unsettling.
This is one of those books that has an ending that the author hopes will provoke the question of "What happened next?" For me, the only ending that I imagine is movie credits rolling over a set in Hesperia, California. The only real female character in the book is almost exactly like Ophelia in Hamlet: pretty, helpless, and I won't add any spoilers for the rest. The story is staged as a 4 1/2 hour monologue, which I imagine the author meant to be some kind of metaphor about the relationship between the US and the Middle East. It's so distractingly overblown, however, that it's hard to take the story seriously. To be fair, I did read this as part of a book club for work, and I was somewhat derailed by the fact that I wished had been reading for book club back in LA county, as that one would have involved a few glasses of wine.
Really interesting book- interesting story, mysterious end, nontraditional way how it was written- in monologue... I recommend listen to an audiobook, the narrator had english with Pakistani accent which gave to the plot the right atmosphere.
definitely the narrator gave an added value to the whole story... It was more interesting to listen to him than just read the story...
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