Pakistani novelist on shortlist for Booker Prize
LONDON, Sept 6: ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid is one of the finalists for the Man Booker Prize, Britain’s most prestigious award for fiction.
‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ is a critically praised novel about a westernised middle-class Pakistani whose life is transformed by the Sept 11 attacks.
On top of the six-novel shortlist is Ian McEwan’s tale of repression-thwarted love, ‘On Chesil Beach’ which has been the bookies’ favourite since the 13-book long list was announced last month.
The other four books on the shortlist are: English writer Nicola Barker’s ‘Darkmans’, hailed as “an ambitious and energetic contemporary ghost story”; ‘The Gathering’, a family epic set in England and Ireland by Irish author Anne Enright; New Zealand writer Lloyd Jones’ ‘Mister Pip’ in which Pacific islanders are introduced to Charles Dickens’ ‘Great Expectations’; and ‘AnimalÂ’s People’, a novel about the Bhopal chemical disaster by India’s Indra Sinha.
Mohsin Hamid says the long wait for a follow-up to his acclaimed debut novel Â‘Moth Smoke’ is due to the need to have ‘distance’ from the 9/11 attacks of 2001.
The attacks occurred while he was writing ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’, a psychological thriller about a young Pakistani man, Changez, who meets an American stranger in Lahore.
Hamid had begun writing the book long before the attacks on New York and Washington.
But he said that when they happened, they changed what happens in the story ‘quite dramatically’.
“I tried to write a couple of drafts after 2001 that were set before 2001, just so the events wouldn’t overpower the story – and it seemed increasingly problematic to do that, because one knows what happens afterwards,Â”