Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands


The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid had been sitting on my bookshelf for almost two years. I’d been meaning to read it but hadn’t got round to it yet. When I was sorting out my books for Dubai – what would be shipped or given away – I found this behind some other books and thought it might be better not to send it in the container with all the other stuff. I’d been told that any ‘inappropriate’ books would be confiscated by customs and I didn’t want to take a chance…

This Sunday was the first Sunday in about six months where I had nothing planned. No yoga, no parents in town to have lunch with, and I wasn’t sure what to do. Being one of three books in my bookcase (I’d read the other two), I picked it up and headed to Raoul’s. I ordered my eggs and coffee and started reading.

The main character Changez is telling his story to an American stranger in Lahore. The entire story is told from Changez’s point of view – a monologue. He tells the American how he gets to America, goes to Princeton, falls in love with an American woman, gets a competitive job as an analyst, and then 9/11 happens. His relationship falls apart, he’s disillusioned with the way he’s being treated in the US, his work suffers and he decides to quit, knowing that his work visa will expire and he’ll have to return to Pakistan.

The book was so good I was almost halfway through it by the time I was done at Raoul’s – it’s not a very long book and it’s easy to read. I found the second half disappointing, though, and I hated the end. It ends abruptly and ambiguously, leaving the reader to decide for him/herself what happens. Perhaps I’m a lazy reader who likes/needs to be told the whole story, rather than having to use my brain to imagine what happens next. But isn’t that the writer’s responsibility to his or her reader?

I’m glad I read the book. I’m glad it only took me one day to read. But I wish the end had been different.

And that’s 18 of my 20 books in 2011! There’s just over six weeks left of 2011 and I’m not sure I’m going to achieve my goal… 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: