The Reluctant Fundamentalist Discussion Questions - Mel's Online Book Club

Posted at 20:30pm on 21st January 2010

Hi! I’m really excited about this new Online Book Club, which is starting today, and hope that you will be, too. The beauty of being a member of a readers’ group is that it encourages you to read books you might not, otherwise, have picked up.

But reading can be a solitary pursuit. Half the pleasure of being a reader is having the opportunity to enthuse, criticize and discuss the books you’ve read. In his book, Aspects of the Novel, E.M.Forster declares that a novel is a story that takes place over a period of time. However, he goes on to say that just as the human experience is timeless, so, too, is the novel. What he means is that despite language, nationality, time or space, human emotions remain constant. To some extent or other, we all know the same feelings.

I’m hoping that this Online Book Club is going to be a sharing of those feelings; those timeless experiences and emotions. So I hope you'll join me in my desire to make this the beginning of a whole new online friendship with people of like-mind.

BOOK: The Reluctant Fundamentalist, By Mohsin Hamid

FORMAT:

  • Read the book and, if you wish, the Précis
  • Use the discussion questions below as a prompt
  • Leave your comments
  • Comment on other readers' comments

NB: COMMENTS HAVE BEEN DISABLED ON THIS POST. PLEASE GO TO THE FULL DISCUSSION TO LEAVE YOUR COMMENT AND TAKE PART IN THE DEBATE. Thank you.

Discussion Questions

  1. On page 1 Changez says ‘I am a lover of America’. Given his actual alienation of the country, how do you think this love/hate statement may be reconciled?
  2. In what ways may this be true of us in our national / political / spiritual outlook?
  3. How may anger be misplaced? How, on page 41, is creativity misused? Is this indicative of a selfish misuse of creation by human beings?
  4. The book is full of allegories and metaphors: can you name some of them and relate them to real events and attitudes?
  5. Did you find any symbolism about Erica and her skewed relationship with Changez? If so what and how?
  6. What part does the disintegration of Erica’s mental health play in Changez’ alienation of America?
  7. What do you think happens at the end?
  8. How does the book enable you to understand why second generation immigrant youths might turn to terrorism against the West?
  9. Do you like the style of the book – the gentle way it is written?
  10. Would you read another book by this author?

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