Pondering The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mohsin Hamid talks about his new book.

Listen up, NPR junkies and literary lovers—check out Fresh Air’s fabulous Terry Gross interviewing Mohsin Hamid on his new book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Mohsin’s second novel (his debut offering being Moth Smoke) focuses entirely on a Pakistani man who tells his story to an American stranger in a Pakistani cafe. Set after the 9/11 attacks, the novel explores, as Hamid puts it, a “conversation” between the West and the Muslim world.

Hamid, who currently lives in London, was born in Pakistan and studied at Princeton, so “there’s a great deal of Americanness inside me.” Some of the most interesting parts of the interview are when Hamid discusses his dual identity:

As someone who’s naturally split between two cultures, the fact that the two cultures have become so increasingly hostile to each other makes me much more unsettled within myself. For example, it’s difficult for me now to go to America as often as I would like to see my friends there. But it’s also difficult when I got married in Pakistan and some of my American friends said they didn’t know if it was safe enough to come. For me, feeling the two worlds slip further apart has opened up a divide inside myself.

Check out the interview to hear Hamid talking about his new book, racial profiling and wearing a beard in the West.

April 4, 2007
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  1. April 5, 2007, 5:11 pm Pavani

    He’s also scheduled for a reading at Booksmith next week. I don’t know yet if I can go, but what I’ve heard of the interview so far makes me want to attend. Thanks, Nakasha.