"There was a moment when anything was possible. And there will be a moment when nothing is possible. But in between we can create." It is this grand arc one between life and death that the talented Mohsin Hamid traverses in his compelling new novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
. The unnamed narrator, simply written as the second person "you," knows he has to "create" a family, a business, a life a life that moves him far beyond the restrictive confines of his poor village childhood.
Now is indeed a time of meteoric growth in "rising" Asia. The 2013 Human Development report from the UN Development Program sheds light on the recent, rapid expansion of the middle class in the developing world. Over the next two decades, the report predicts, growth in the so-called "Global South" will cause significant shifts in economic and political...
Beyond the Book
In How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
, the protagonist starts out in the water business by boiling tap water and selling it in plastic water bottles. Later on, he is approached by the country's Defense Department because it wants to build a reliable and safe water supply for the country. But the protagonist and the head honchos in the government know that the water tables around the world are shrinking and that their goal might yet be a pipe dream. As Filthy Rich's
narrator says, "You hear reports that the water table continues to drop, the thirst of many millions driving bore after steel bore deeper and deeper into the aquifer, to fill countless leaky pipes and seepy, unlined channels, phenomena with which you are intimately familiar and from which you have profited,...