The reluctant fundamentalist; book vs. film review.

I watched the film first and, although of course the book is much more detailed and full of nuances, in my opinion, it dwells too much in the love story, which I didn’t find particulaly interesting. I found the way he imposes himself on the woman a bit out of order. I mean, intending to have sex with an unresponsive play-possum woman who seems just about to be subjected to vivisection makes no sense unless you are into necrophilia. Despite she didn’t return his phonecalls or reply to his emails, the guy keeps pestering her. Hey, Changez, can’t you get a hint? Just turn the page! Also,if the woman is clearly disturbed and grieving to the point that she’s not able to have sex and you have to pretend that you are someone else to satiate your desire, you are even more disturbed than she is. In the film she is not the main issue, she only appears two or three times and she doesn’t play dead when they have sex, whereas the whole love story thing takes too many pages in the book.

The reluctant fundamentalist by Hohsin Hamid


However, the book has its good points vs. the film; it’s less sensationalistic. The guy is not ‘recruited’ by any fundamentalist gang. It is he who realises that the US is poking its nose too much (to say it mildly) into South East Asian countries and creating havoc among them due to their allegiance or non-allegiance with them. Also, he is not laid off from work because he has a beard, that’s way too simplistic! He realises that his job is immoral, that it doesn’t involve ‘workheads’ but real people who are fired so that he can earn a big chunk of money a year. He resigns because he has principles. There is not a violent mob; rather he educates students and they respond, but not in the way shown in the film. Reading his monologue was a pleasure; obviously he is a cultivated guy who speaks better English than lots of natives. The end of the book is not so blunt as the film. There is not any shooting. He and other mates in the restaurant get a correct impression about who the American guy is and the writer lets you imagine what is just about to happen to him. A US agent is not welcome to interfere in Pakistani affairs, and that’s the way it should be.

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