Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ten top books about Americans abroad

Ian MacKenzie is the author of the novels Feast Days and City of Strangers.

One of his ten favorite books that both handle and complicate the theme of Americans abroad, as shared at the Guardian:
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

In this reimagining of Albert Camus’s The Fall, Hamid depicts a pas-de-deux over the course of an evening in Lahore. The narrator, a Pakistani man who spent a formative period in New York working in finance in the years before 9/11, addresses his interlocutor, an unidentified American man who may be an intelligence officer, but who never gets a word in edgewise, so to speak. As sharp and clean as the blade of a knife, this is a story, like [Joan] Didion’s [Democracy], about the uncertain empire the US has built, and about the pain and disruption this uncertainty inflicts upon individual lives.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is among Emily Temple's ten top contemporary novels by and about Muslims, Laila Lalami's eight top books about Muslim life for a nation that knows little about Islam, Porochista Khakpour's top ten novels about 9/11, Jimmy So's five best 9/11 novels, and Ahmede Hussain's five top books in recent South Asian literature.

The Page 69 Test: The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

--Marshal Zeringue