“We are all refugees from our childhoods.”
A poor unnamed boy in an unnamed country (presumably India, Pakistan, Bangledesh, etc.) rises from abject poverty to wealth and prominence. This story is narrated by an omniscient narrator, who treats the tale as a model for how one might similarly gain a fortune—it’s a novel in the form of a tongue-in-cheek self-help book.
As in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Hamid is able to convey hard-won wisdom, deep longing, and universal experiences of loneliness and disappointment, as well as love, in subtle and gripping writing. His humor and self-awareness at addressing the reader directly through the narrator is creative and entertaining. Both books are page-turners, and I’d like to read more of his work. His writing is very artistic, in that it gives a window into human experience that a direct or non-fiction approach can’t, in my experience, emulate.
Related Books: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Recommend to Others: Yes
Reread Personally: No, read his other books.
“But when you read a book, what you see are black squiggles on pulped wood or, increasingly, dark pixels on a pale screen. To transform these icons into characters and events, you must imagine. And when you imagine, you create. It’s in being read that a book becomes a book, and in each of a million different readings a book becomes one of a million different books, just as an egg becomes one of potentially a million different people when it’s approached by a hard-swimming and frisky school of sperm.”