Q: The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a monologue about a Pakistani’s experiences in America at the time of the 9/11 attacks. What made you choose this format, which has the Pakistani narrating the tale to an American whose voice is never actually heard?Read the entire interview.
A: The form the novel, with the narrator and his audience both acting as characters, allowed me to mirror the mutual suspicion with which America and Pakistan (or the Muslim world) look at one another. The Pakistani narrator wonders: is this just a normal guy or is he a killer out to get me? The American man who is his audience wonders the same. And this allows the novel to inhabit an interior emotional world much like the exterior political world in which it will be read. The form of the novel is an invitation, which if the reader accepts, will in turn implicate the reader, because the reader will be called upon to judge the novel’s outcome and shape its ending.
Read an excerpt from The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and visit Mohsin Hamid's website.
The Page 69 Test: The Reluctant Fundamentalist.