This is an extremely well written book on a difficult topic. Challenging the stereotyping and scaremongering that always surface around cultural or religious rifts, Hamid manages to keep the story engaging and even pleasant to read. The unusual conversational styling is well constructed and avoids being clunky or distracting. The language was beautiful and pitched just right to create the warm tone of an educated man, from a land with a proud tradition of poetry and storytelling, recollecting a series of events ranging from perplexing to incomprehensible. The narrator was not lovable or good but very human and understandable, a real and relatable person refusing to be wholly defined by their labels or circumstances. A brilliantly observant book that can be read and read into as much as you wish. If only it were less, rather than far more, poignant today than when it was written.
For a more detailed plot review head to the wonderfully written post by Miss quickly at the blue bore which inspired me to dig these thoughts out the archive.
It is not always possible to restore one’s boundaries after they have been blurred and made permeable by a relationship: try as we might, we cannot reconstitute ourselves as the autonomous beings we previously imagined ourselves to be. Something of us is now outside, and something of the outside is now within us.
From: the depths of the TBR shelf, origin unknown.
Read: April 2015 as my ‘it’s ok, I’m early’ backup book. I have never been so punctual as the week I was reading this!
Felt: like I was sat with them in the cafe, and ashamed of how familiar and common all those acts of prejudice were.
Liked: the clever construct and seamless switching between the past and present.
Would recommend: to everyone. Would read again someday.