Mohsin Hamid: mohsin hameed
Mohsin Hamid is the author of the novels Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.
His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, featured on bestseller lists, and adapted for the cinema. His short stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, and the Paris Review, and his essays in the Guardian, the New York Times, and the New York Review of Books.
Born in 1971, he has lived about half his life, on and off, in Lahore. He also spent part of his early childhood in California, attended Princeton and Harvard, and worked for a decade in New York and London.
This biography was last updated on 04/02/2013.
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The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a monologue about a young Pakistanis experiences in America at the time of the 9/11 attacks. What made you choose this format, which has the Pakistani telling his tale to an American whose voice is never actually heard?
The form of the novel, with the narrator and his audience both acting as characters, allowed me to mirror the mutual suspicion with which America and Pakistan (or the Muslim world) look at one another. The Pakistani narrator wonders: Is this just a normal guy or is he a killer out to get me? The American man who is his audience wonders the same. And this allows the novel to inhabit the interior emotional world much like the exterior political world in which it will be read. The form of the novel is an invitation to the reader. If the reader accepts, then he or she will be called upon to judge the novels outcome and shape its ending.
Your protagonist, Changez, faces both internal and external pressures as a foreigner living in a country thats shocked into a volatile patriotism. What was your biggest challenge in writing about his experience?
My biggest challenge was not having the delicate architecture of the novelits plot and characters...
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