The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid

The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mapping Change(z)

VCE 2012 VCE Text by Mohsin Hamid (2007 – The Reluctant Fundamentalist) – Food, Geography and Cultures collide and coalesce in many different ways, through conflicting personal and political circumstances. Partnerships are formed for a variety of often paradoxical reasons, but still a stain of prejudice and intolerance (whether racial, spiritual or economic envy) may only lie just beneath the surface. “The American Dream” attracts many, but within the greatest hopes can founder the bitterest disillusionment and despair. This preliminary “geo-cultural mapping” follows Changez’ journey (the reader’s narrator and tour guide), both metaphorical and actual. He may be sitting in a Lahore Cafe in Old Anarkali, sharing intimate confidences with an unknown “American” listener, but his story of transformation from one fundamentalism to another (from secular economic capitalist to patriotic nationalist, rather than religious fundamentalist) is also a quest for personal identity, but one not refracted completely through Western individualism; from Jalebis and Kashmiri Chai to Popcorn Shrimps and back again.

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