Ever since its screening at The Cannes Film Festival, news reports have only praise for The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a feature film directed by Mira Nair (of Monsoon Wedding fame).

The film is based on the book of the same name by Mohsin Hamid. Knowing that this film stars 24 star Kiefer Sutherland and sexy actress Kate Hudson, I thought it would be timely to get acquainted with this book. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007, this book is nothing short of clever from its simply written prose to its deceptive plot.

It’s a very spunky book. I know that most people do not describe books in such a manner but I am at a loss for words. It’s been quite a while since I have read such a captivating book. The book starts off with a stranger talking to someone in a Lahore Café:

“Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance?

Ah, I see I have alarmed you.

Do not be frightened by my beard,

I am a lover of America…”

This immediately sets up a conversation between the character and a stranger, which takes on a completely different life of its own. A seemingly chance encounter may not be what it seems. Perhaps, a cup of tea or coffee can change one’s life.

What I particularly liked about the book was the fact that it was a short, fast-paced, and very relevant to today’s world. I think if you want a quick read with some interesting twists and an unconventional plot, this book would be your cup of tea! In fact, it’s better than any thriller movie I have ever seen. It’s no wonder that The Guardian called it the book that defined the decade!

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Divya Gundlapalli

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