Do you need a good book for your book discussion group? Suzanne, our resident book group leader, has a recommendation for you.
This short book could be highly recommended for discussions for quite a few reasons. I found it to be intriguingly written. The entire content is one side of a conversation taking place at a busy café in Lahore, Pakistan, as two men discuss the changes in the speaker’s life, the city and the world in general in current times. Because of the content of the reminiscences—of how events, including those of September 11, 2001, have affected the speaker’s worldview—it has been deemed too controversial by some patrons to whom I have suggested it. I still will recommend it—there is so much to discuss!
The family of the main character (whose name, oddly enough, is Changez) has been affected by the continual unrest in Pakistan. Their fortunes have greatly diminished, so Changez is thrilled to receive scholarships to Princeton, where he can pursue his American Dream, in the Land of Opportunity. His dedication to his studies and later in business wins him the admiration of his professors as well as his peers. Then comes September 11, and all things change for him.
Author Hamid documents the manner in which a young man–even a very thoughtful and insightful young man—might need to alter his worldview, in light of how those in the Western world treat those from the greater Middle East–and view their entire home countries– especially if they have Islamic roots. Thus the title. Hamid provides a perspective most Westerners don’t bother to consider.
(Also highly recommended by Suzanne—the DVD based on this book, though the story has been necessarily altered and expanded.)
Posted by: Craig