Mohsin Hamid

Cover of "The Reluctant Fundamentalist"

Cover of The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mohsin Hamid is the Pakistani author of three novels: Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel. I have just finished reading all three and I am impressed with his prose styling which in clarity reminds me of Ernest Hemingway. If you chose to read only one of his books, my recommendation would be The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

It is the story of a western-educated Pakistani who lands a high paying job on Wall Street shortly before the attacks of 9/11/2001. After 9/11, he begins to feel out-of-place working in New York and eventually he decides to quit his job and return to Pakistan. Giving voice to his thoughts, he attracts a group of like-minded followers, some of whom are violent men. He is neither violent himself nor does he advocate violence. However, he is labelled a terrorist leader in the West and an assassin is sent to kill him. The arrival of the assassin is anticipated and prevented from carrying out his assignment.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist grows and evolves as he learns to think for himself and to express his thoughts. It takes courage to speak out in today’s world, and the reader is encouraged to follow suit.

Ernest Hemingway

Cover of "The Crook Factory"

Cover of The Crook Factory

In The Crook Factory, Dan Simmons put these words in Hemingway‘s mouth:

“‘So how would this confused mess in Cuba fit into your Mr. Hoover’s fear?’ said Hemingway. ‘People are motivated more by fear than any other emotion. Or at least that’s been my observation.'”

And that is how the GOP intends to win in November, by playing on people’s fears.

Please see Fear | Groups

The Crook Factory

American Author Ernest Hemingway aboard his Ya...

Image via Wikipedia

I have finally gotten around to reading The Crook Factory by Dan Simmons about Ernest Hemingway’s efforts in Cuba during WW2 to find Nazi spies and capture or destroy German U-boats. I had been looking forward to reading this book for a long time and it did not disappoint. For the Hemingway fan, this book brings him to life like no other biography that I have read. I have read almost all of Hemingway’s books and I feel a special connection to him since we were both born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, probably in the same hospital.

In the Author’s Note at the back of the book, Simmons claims that 95% of the book is fact, not fiction. Interestingly, he notes that J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI had advance information about the imminent attack on Pearl Harbor, but did nothing about it because of interagency rivalries. Just like 9-11,  60 years later, the FBI had prior warning but did nothing. How little changes.

Please see Coincidences | Dan Simmons | Quality books | Song of Kali | Phases of Gravity | The Shining