These are some of my thoughts regarding the book: “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, after having read the first 9 chapters.
The story is set for post 2001 as far as we know. The story is based upon a conversation between two characters in a café in Pakistan, Lahore. In this conversation, the main character “Changez”, tells his story from when he moved to New York and what experiences he went through at that time the story he is telling is obviously set in New-York but also different places such as Chile or the Philippines. This is also around the 2001 era, considering we get to read about the 9/11 terror attack and the main character’s reactions to it. In the past-tense story, we get a lot of comparisons between Pakistan and New-York. In this, we get a bit of information about the atmosphere of the two different cities.
The story is about Changez and his experiences with immigrating to a whole new country, moving from Lahore in Pakistan, to New-York in America. We can tell by the way Changez presents himself to a total stranger in the beginning of the book, telling him that he is not dangerous even though he has a beard. Changez proceeds to tell his story about his few years in New-York and what it had done to his perspective on Americans. In this story, the main point is the reactions of the 9/11 terror attack.
The main character, Changez is quite a controversial figure. He has some obvious main traits, he is hard working, confident, very self-aware, but also violent and emotionally driven. In my opinion I see Changez as a static, but round character. I think there are two different ways of looking at him as a character in this story. There is from the point of “Changez sitting in café talking to a total stranger” or you could also look at his behaviour in the story he tells. I think that this story is sort of misleading, and if that story Changez is telling is more and more revealing, it might be because of how this is an conversation with a total stranger, it is more psychologically correct for me to assume that he would not be throwing out information about his deepest feelings in the first chapter of this “conversation”. Because of how amazingly self-aware Changez seems to be, I think his way of thinking, his way of putting 2 and 2 together is the same throughout the whole story. Also, if you look at his characteristics only in the present parts of the story, he does not change at all, but is quite a round character. We get to know enough about him to call him a round character in my opinion, but I also think there still is a lot to be discovered in this story. My main way of identifying that Changez is overall a static character is his way of reacting to certain situations early in the story, he also seems to have quite a temper, pointed towards justice. And what are terrorists trying to achieve? Justice.
I do not see any other main characters changing in this story either. I feel like Erica has this problem built inside of her. Although she seems healthier at the start of the story, Chris is already dead, she is almost crazy in a way, but this shines through later in the book because we get to know her more and more. Erica might seem dynamic to Changez, but in reality, she is not, in my opinion.
- Narrative style
The story is told from Changez’s perspective. This means we only get to know Changez perception to the events taking place throughout the story. Leaving us quite uninformed and unsure about most of the expressions made in this story. The writer leaves the reader way more interested by using this form of narrating and it creates a lot of suspense in the story. No other narrative style would work out in a story like this, but could there be other perspectives that would be interested to see the story from? Yes. I would love to read this story from for example Jim’s point of view.
I can identify a few different themes in this story, but the main one being moral. I think this story is about making people see why other people react the way they do. This is also the base principles of diplomacy. It showcases how a story can be turned a totally different direction depending on who is telling it. Relating to how the American people are in a way forced to believe that what the government or the media says, is correct. The author explores this theme quite creatively throughout these 9 chapters I have read, but I am fearing that he will try to make it easier to comprehend for more people through the end of the book. He will make it more obvious and easier to understand, which will make it more or less corny to people like me. But, my opinion could also be totally wrong and my thoughts on the book could be extremely positive or negative.
Feel free to leave comments regarding the book, and express your own opinion. Do you agree with my standpoints?