Though this book is a few years old, I believe it's a book all Americans should read. It takes on an incredible socio-cultural approach with a simple conceit and delivers big time. The Reluctant Fundamentalist has been made into a motion picture by Mira Nair, but I am not sure that conveys in the same way that this taut narrative does. The book moves incredibly quickly - I finished it in one sitting of about three hours - as a result of the form; first person narrative. But the narrative takes on increasingly tense turns as it evolves. Think the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner - an unwitting wedding guest sits down and trapped, a captive audience, he is subjected to the narrator's intense tale. In this case an American, a foreigner in Pakistan, sits at a table in a caf in Lahore where he is met by a local who relates an amazing amount of experience in the United States. He slowly gets him engaged and keeps him at the caf with his story. This local speaks with an American accent and knows American culture too intimately to be lying about having lived in New York and having attended university in the Ivy League. And so the American visitor gets roped in. But where it goes will definitely surprise you. Initially I thought this was a simpleton's tale of woe, but as the story progresses one begins to fathom what is really going on and it tumbles, just tumbles to its exciting conclusion. Liked this one a lot and wish I had read it when it came out. Recommended.
Changez, a young Muslim American, is living the American dream, with a Princeton education and high-paying job, until the events of September 11th force him to confront his personal allegiances.