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The elegant and compelling novel about a Pakistani man’s abandonment of his high-flying life in New York—an extraordinary portrait of a divided and yet ultimately indivisible world in America post-9/11.
At a café table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. He begins to tell the story of a man named Changez, who is living an immigrant’s dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by an elite valuation firm. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his budding romance with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore. But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned, and his relationship with Erica shifting. And Changez’s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In an airy café in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man invites an American stranger to share a cup of tea. He then proceeds to spill out his life story, from his start as a white-collar businessman in New York City, through an unexpected heartbreak, to his new awakening as a highly public critic of U.S. foreign policy. Mohsin Hamid’s novel unfolds as a conversation between two strangers, slowly morphing into a thrilling cautionary tale. Hamid, the author of the best-selling Exit West, is a brilliant writer. Don’t sleep on the compelling 2012 movie adaptation of his book, starring Riz Ahmed and Kate Hudson.
Hamid grabs hold of the American Dream as seen through the eyes of a young Princeton grad from Pakistan in a post-9/11 world. As the protagonist, Changez, finds moderate business success and romantic love in New York City, his heritage and identity will be lost in a sea of subtle and blatant bigotry as well as international politics. In relating this journey from loving to loathing of all things American, Changez speaks to a nameless and speechless American whom he encounters in the marketplace of his home city, Lahore, Pakistan. Bhabha's English-influenced Pakistani accent proves soothing and inviting for listeners. His gentle demeanor captures the courteous and polite manner of Changez. His American accent comes in the form of a Midwestern accent with a confident almost arrogant lilt. He lapses when it comes to vocalizing women. Though lighter, his voice exudes a stoic resonance instead of a feminine one. But the casual tone of Changez telling his life story translates perfectly with the help of Bhabha's velvet voice. Simultaneous release with the Harcourt hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 11).