From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the boldly imagined tale of a poor boy's quest for wealth and love.
His first two novels established Mohsin Hamid as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the world's pulse. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia meets that reputation, and exceeds it. the astonishing and riveting tale of a man's journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon, it steals its shape from the business self-help books devoured by ambitious youths all over "rising Asia." It follows its nameless hero to the sprawling metropolis where he begins to amass an empire built on that most fluid, and increasingly scarce, of goods: water. Yet his heart remains set on something else, on the pretty girl whose star rises along with his, their paths crossing and recrossing, a lifelong affair sparked and snuffed and sparked again by the forces that careen their fates along.
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a striking slice of contemporary life at a time of crushing upheaval. Romantic without being sentimental, political without being didactic, and spiritual without being religious, it brings an unflinching gaze to the violence and hope it depicts. And it creates two unforgettable characters who find moments of transcendent intimacy in the midst of shattering change.
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
As you lie motionless, a young jaundiced village boy, radish juice dribbling from the corner of your lips and forming a small patch of mud on the ground, it must seem that getting filthy rich is beyond your reach. But have faith. You are not as powerless as you appear. Your moment is about to come. Yes, this book is going to offer you a choice.
Decision time arrives a few hours later. The sun has set and your mother has shifted you onto the cot, where you lie swaddled in a blanket even though the evening is warm. The men have returned from the fields, and the family, all except you, have eaten together in the courtyard. Through your doorway you can hear the gurgle of a water pipe and see the flare of its coals as one of your uncles inhales.
Your parents stand over you, looking down. Tomorrow your father will return to the city. He is thinking.
"Will you be all right?" he asks you.
It is the first question he has asked you on ...
The second person “you” is hard to read, although talented writers like Junot Diaz have done wonders with it, and Hamid’s usage of “you” feels especially appropriate for this biting story. The “you,” Hamid seems to say, encompasses every individual in rising Asia.
(Reviewed by Poornima Apte).
Full Review (897 words).
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 ...
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