Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Five of the best transnational novels

Mohsin Hamid's novels include Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (shortlisted for The Booker Prize), How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, and Exit West. One of his five best books that look beyond national boundaries, as shared at Waterstone's blog:
Meatless Days by Sara Suleri

Meatless Days refers to a time in Pakistan, immediately after independence, when the state was struggling to survive. There was not enough meat; so to stretch supplies it was decreed that you couldn’t buy meat on certain days of the week. This occurred as Sara Suleri was growing up in Pakistan, as the daughter of a Welsh-born professor of English and a very famous Pakistani political journalist. So this is a memoir of life in Pakistan as this new nation was finding its feet.

I first read this book as a college student in the United States. Reading about Lahore in a memoir by a Yale literature professor—who was reflecting back on her own youth in Pakistan—had a strange effect on me. It was like being caught in a hall of mirrors. There I was in America, reading about Pakistan, where I come from. It hit me with an enormous sense of nostalgia and also admiration for how Sara Suleri combined the strands of politics, autobiography and cultural criticism.
Read about another book Hamid tagged.

Visit Mohsin Hamid's website and Facebook page.

Mohsin Hamid's most influential book.

Mohsin Hamid's ten favorite books.

The Page 69 Test: The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

--Marshal Zeringue