Monday, May 5, 2014

How To Get Filthy Rich... - Mohsin Hamid

Books written in the second person - the narrator addressing the narratee (or, in this case, perhaps the main character?) - are few and far between. And for a very valid reason! It is a cumbersome, constrained way of telling a story. 
Moreover, Hamid uses no proper names, designing his protagonists as "the pretty girl" or "your father" which is yet another stunt to pull off. If you think that is easy, try reading Paulo Coelho...

This life saga is devised as a self-help book, explicitly reminding you of this in every chapter, thus pointedly drawing attention to its own status as an object for you to shape - yet another bold narrative choice.

Much to my consternation (Well, I had never heard of the guy before!) Hamid pulls all these tricks off swimmingly! 
At least for a Westerner (at least for me) it was impossible not to draw parallels between his hero and Dev Patel's adorable character in 'Slumdog Millionaire' (yes, I know it's a book, but it's one I haven't read) (No doubt it's good, though! I read Swarup's second novel, which was first-rate!) and if you add an engrossing main protagonist to skillful writing, there is really no going wrong.


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