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Monday, March 29, 2010


Authored by Mohsin Hamid, this book is in the form of a monologue by a US educated Pakistani youth with an undisclosed American in a Lahore restaurant where he recounts his experience of immigrant life in New York. At 21, Changez was an Ivy league graduate, working as an analyst with one of the most revered of valuation firms. He was in love with an appealing and elegant Greek classmate Erika, who did not mind welcoming him into her thoughts. Accolades after accolades, Changez proved himself to be the smartest among his batchmates. He loved his newfound status that his business card unfolded for him. He loved the social life that Erika introduced him into. Personal life could not have been better for a successful Princeton educated Pakistani youth who was beginning to consider New York his home.

Then 9/11 followed and the identity of Changez turned upside down. Elements like suspicion and confusion challenged his American identity and he seemed to plunge into an abyss of despair. To make things worse, the past of Erika started haunting her. She had lost her childhood sweetheart when she was a student and the trauma she had survived then returned to haunt her to almost schizophrenic levels. Further the mounting political turmoil between India and Pakistan that threatened to blow into a full scale war added to the trauma of Changez and he desperately wanted to move close to his family in Lahore.

Soon, Changez’s admiration for America transformed into antipathy towards the political role she plays in world diplomacy. He began to identify America as a regime which was destroying the fabric of Asia. He left his valuation job in New York and headed towards Lahore. In his new role as a university lecturer, he endeavored to influence the mindset of young Pakistani students against, what he considered, the political dictatorship of America.

This book was a nominated for 2007 bookers and is widely read in American universities to shape cultural perspectives. In the contemporary global political scenario, this book is a wonderful read about how personal lives are shaped by political decisions. Nothing innovative in this novel with respect to the theme (piles of reads and movies are already based on the 9/11 impacts), yet the tone of the book is what makes this book different from the herd.

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