Even more book reviews:
The Reluctant Fundementalist – Mohsin Hamid
I have no idea what to think of this book. His recollection of being an outsider rang familiar with my experience in business school. He succeeds but all his illusions are shattered at one point. That’s the way I felt after getting my degree and working 2 jobs (7 days a week). I thought that was supposed to make me happy. Self actualized. Get ‘there’ finally. Arrive. All the media and peer pressure had insinuated that such ‘success’ was the way to enlightenment. They were wrong and it was not.
I can’t help but be disappointed that the Changez didn’t find a more creative way to wield his power in the business world. I thought Erica – an anorexic — was supposed to symbolize the worst parts of America.
I could sympathize with his odd reaction to 911 in a small way. I hoped that those oblivious ones would finally wake up and wonder why so much of the world harbored such huge animosity towards America. It’s like the old joke of my mothers. One man asks another. ‘Can I ride your mule?’ And the 2nd man says, ‘Yes. But let me get a 2×4 first.’ ‘Why do you need a 2×4?’ ‘Well, first I have to get his attention.’
I could fall into and live in Mr. Hamid’s voice. Podcast.
Love Life by Ray Kluun
Another book I have no idea what to think of. Even after discussing it with my friends at the book club. This was a difficult book for me to read because it brought back so many memories – good and unpleasant. It’s set in my old stomping grounds in the south of Amsterdam. And I really enjoyed the ‘fly-on-the-wall’ aspect of watching Dutch yuppies. But the question still remains – does two weeks of devotion make up for years of infidelity?
I don’t believe anyone should judge someone in that situation, I suppose you do what you have to to survive. But. Yes, I agree with all the characters that repeatedly tell Dan that he needs help. And I find it rather surprising that the episode of euthanasia is so overshadowed by the repeated adultery that no seems to have bothered to comment on it. I guess it just goes to show you that leading a charmed life in no way prepares you for hardship.
I found it frustrating that the author didn’t go into any character development in the sense of what made Dan tick. What was his childhood like? What in the world was he trying to find in all those casual sex encounters? Affirmation? Validation? Why? Didn’t he already have everything?
Times Online Interview. Isn’t if funny how irritated the literary community is with how good he is marketing his book?
Marie Claire Interview. I suppose the French will say, ”what’s the big deal?’ Like they did with Fatal Attraction.
The White Masai – Corinne Hofmann
A Swiss woman is on holiday in Kenya and falls truly, madly deeply in love with a Masai warrior. She goes home sells her business and all her possession, returns to Kenya to set up housekeeping with the Masai.
I’m sorry but this relationship had no chance. The power difference between the two was so great. Maybe she felt she was in love, and she certainly was. But not with the man but her idealized idea of him. If she had truly loved him she would have never pursued him. Because even an idiot could see that a relationship with her would destroy him. When the reality turns out to be incontrovertible the relationship falls apart. He was dazzled by her — by her Westerness and seemingly endless wealth. There was no way her could ever feel confident of her fidelity with such vast disparity between them.
I think a great deal of this book is revisionist. She’s telling the story in retrospect which certainly must contain abridgments. I think the word I’m looking for here is ‘denial’. In the sense that Corinne rewrites her personal history to her liking.