I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get to this book. I’ve been a fan of Mohsin Hamid since his debut novel, Moth Smoke. It was fresh and edgy and unlike anything else I had read coming out of South Asia. In his second novel, The Reluctant Fundementalist, which was also made into a film, he confronted some difficult issues regarding religion in America in the post 9/11 years. Hamid has always written distinctive novels and How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is no different.
In some ways the style of How to Get Rich is a little disarming at first. It is a novel written as a self help book in the second person. That means Hamid addresses the reader as ‘you’ throughout. This is a difficult style to pull off, but Hamid does it. He leads the reader through various steps on the road to wealth, without sacrificing the narrative drive of the story. I was also worried that this style would make the characters seem distant, but that is not the case at all.
The other thing I appreciated about the novel was the time it took for the main character to actually achieve success. This was not a fictional get rich quick scheme. It took the protagonist a lifetime to get to where he wanted to be and luck and hard work were the two key component in finding success.
Who would like this book? This is a novel that tells the reader a lot about the culture of business in South Asia. I remember when The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga came out, it was recommended to business people working in South Asia. I think How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia could go into a similar category. It also fits nicely along side Five Star Billionaire (my review), Tash Aw’s latest novel about making it in Shanghai. But don’t let the above comments leave you with the impression that How To Get Rich is only about business. It is, at it’s heart, about human relationships and finding love. The story is rather poignant and comes full circle.
I’ve been really curious about this since it came out, especially because I haven’t read many novels in second person and want to give it a shot. Good to hear it lives up to the other positive reviews I’ve read!
The 2nd person narration can be off putting, but he does it well. I was surprised that he could successfully keep it up for the whole book.
I liked this one as well. Hamid makes interesting choices stylistically, but it works. I need to read Moth Smoke at some point.
I have never read anything by this author. I will have to check him out!
His best known book is The Reluctant Fundamentalist but I’ve liked all of his books. He pushed the boundaries in a really great way.
It’s written in second person? I can’t remember the last novel I read like that. I will have to look it up.
This sounds awesome. I can only think of a couple of other novels written in the second person, Everything Beautiful Began After, by Simon Van Booy, being the only other one I’ve read (I think). This sounds truly fascinating.
I hadn’t remembered that the Van Booy was in second person as well. It is something that is hard to do well.
What an interesting way to approach telling a story! I’m intrigued 🙂
I’m intrigued by the whole second person delivery. Definitely sounds unique!
I thought the second person narrative style in Reluctant Fundamentalist worked very well for the book. I will be curious to see how it works in this one. I need to read more of Hamid’s books – they sound like I will enjoy them.
So it was second person in The Reluctant Fundamentalist. I couldn’t remember since I read it quite sometime ago. What I do remember is that it’s style was really what made the book. Hamid is one of the highlights coming out of South Asia right now. Even if you don’t like his books, it is clear to see that he is always pushing the boundaries and trying something new.
I’m intrigued, I’ve always wanted to read this guy and I appreciate authors who are always trying something a little different. -Tania
I found the text-book style intriguing at first but after a while it grated on me, and I think the 2nd person POV was distancing and stopped me from connecting with the character.
Hmm, I was surprised at how I did connect with the characters in spite of it being told in 2nd person. Everybody’s different I guess.
I wanted to read this during The tournament of books but couldn’t get my grubby little paws on it. Have you read a book called silk armor? I think you might like it.
I’ve never even heard of Silk Armor. Will have to investigate.
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So, so glad you liked this one Tanya! Bought and read it in India last year. Hamid is one of my favorites too, though I think The Reluctant Fundamentalist is still my favorite of the three he’s written.