CBR Bingo – Own Voices
This is my second read of Mohsin Hamid, having read “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” last year. He was not on my radar except for the intentional choice to read outside of my standard zone, by way of fighting ignorance (looking at you, Drumpf) with education. I came across an article via lithub (http://lithub.com/10-contemporary-nov…) that gave 10 contemporary books to read, and a friend and I decided to tackle “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.” It was interesting, surprising, heartfelt, and disheartening. It put a real face to what we generally categorize in the US as dangerous and foreign. I would say though this novel is very different, he taps into these same basic things, and again humanizes what we have long ignored as “other” or not our problem: displaced people, under attack in their own homes.
Therefore, it was appropriate to then read this book for “own voices” in CBR bingo and again hear his unique voice. Nadia and Saeed are at the beginning of a budding relationship in a conservative unnamed culture. But when their city slowly falls into war and chaos, they must decide what to do. Stay behind in the familiar? Or go out on their own? What is the right choice for them? For their families? Of course, the real answer is that there isn’t a right choice, just choices and consequences, both in the present, and in the future. In this story he introduces some fanciful elements but his prose is steeped in reality. His characters leap off the page with raw emotion and small details. Somehow in only 226 pages he is able to develop a deep and emotional story that will leave you emotional, grateful, and contemplative. In Drumpf’s America as we rally for or against immigrants, this is an important story that will strike an emotional chord.