I read The Reluctant Fundamentalist for a class two years ago, and I found Mohsin Hamid’s style to be conversational and utterly engaging. So, I was excited to hear about his new book coming out. I’m just as delighted with this one, and I find all sorts of scholarly and readerly potential.
While disguised as a self-help book (and rhetorically engaging with the quirks and flaws of this genre), How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia records the rise and fall and rise and fall of an unnamed narrator in an undisclosed country in–you guessed it–Asia. The third child of a servant, he grows up with an education to become a magnate in a bottled-water business. Throughout his life, his paths intersect with a woman’s from his hometown, and though they frequently collide and miss each other, theirs is the relationship that sustains much of the novel.
I am actually glad that Hamid denies the simplicity of location, names, even years, as the political could easily trump the complex themes at play within this novel. You see a questioning of the self, a self-awareness present in the narrator that questions what “you” are, and other mixed-bag postmodernisms that I greatly enjoyed.
I think Mohsin Hamid is a stunning writer, and I look forward to the work he puts out next. I think this is a text that would serve as an excellent counter to the myth of the American Dream, or with other writers who look at the rise (or fall) of the individual in this increasingly consumerist market.