How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.

Author:Hamid, Mohsin
Position:Book review

By Mohsin Hamid

Pakistani-American author Mohsin Hamid has published two previous novels, Moth Smoke (2000) and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), both of which became New York Times Notable Books of the Year. The Reluctant Fundamentalist was also short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.


THE STORY: Loosely framed as a self-help book, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia follows the rags-to-riches-to-rags-again story of an unnamed man in a country resembling Hamid's native Pakistan. As a boy, he leaves his impoverished rural village and moves to the city with his family. Suddenly surrounded by electric lights, automobiles, and other wonders of the modern world, he resolves to become "filthy rich" at any cost--a fixation that will dominate his life and guide nearly every decision. But as he builds an empire distributing boiled tap water in used spring-water bottles, he finds that the cost--scams, bribery, violence, and the sacrifice of true love--is very high indeed.

Riverhead Books. 228 pages. $26.95. ISBN: 9781594487293

Milwaukee Jrnl Sentinel ****

"With its second-person point of view and its nearly cradle-to-grave arc, reading Mohsin Hamid's How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is like being deeply immersed in a text-based role-playing game--only it's the kind of game Leo Tolstoy might have written, clear-eyed in its dissection of human folly, ambition and love. ... How to Get Filthy Rich would be an interesting literary novelty if it were only a satire, but Hamid does much more here. In his succinct, deft prose and episodic chapters, he unfolds the life stories of the man and his true love." JIM HIGGINS

New York Times ****

"It is a measure of Mr. Hamid's audacious talents that he manages to make his protagonist's story work on so many levels. 'You' is, at once, a modern-day Horatio Alger character, representing the desires and frustrations of millions in rising Asia; a bildungsroman hero, by turns knavish and recognizably human, who sallies forth from the provinces to find his destiny; and a nameless but intimately known soul, whose bittersweet romance with the pretty girl possesses a remarkable emotional power." MICHIKO KAKUTANI

San Francisco Chronicle ****

"Throughout the novel, the second-person point of view is employed boldly, and on occasion awkwardly, moving from the singular to the plural, standing in for other rising...

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