Mohsin Hamid is the author of the novels Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, featured on bestseller lists, and adapted for the cinema. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, and the Paris Review, and his essays in the Guardian, the New York Times, and the New York Review of Books. Born in 1971, he has lived about half his life, on and off, in Lahore. He also spent part of his early childhood in California, attended Princeton and Harvard, and worked for a decade as a management consultant in New York and London, mostly part-time.
From Hamid's February 2013 Q & A with Robert Schroeder for the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog:
So, why a self-help-book format?Visit Mohsin Hamid's website and Facebook page.
It started as a joke. I was in New York, and I met a friend of mine. We were just kidding around about literary fiction sometimes being hard work to read, and sometimes feeling that it was a task, like helping ourselves. I said, oh, well, you know, my next novel is going to be a self-help book. We both laughed. I went back to Pakistan, and tried to forget about that idea but I really couldn’t shake the notion. And it excited me more and more, partly because, I started to think, maybe I actually write for self-help purposes and maybe I do read for self-help purposes.
No country is named in the book. Why not set it in a particular country – especially Pakistan?
Pakistan itself is kind of shorthand for terrorism, extremism, etcetera. The same goes for Islam, it stands for certain things. Even names. Osama is no longer a harmless name. By not using names, I sort of de-branded the world around me. I found by describing things to be what they are, rather than...[read on]
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