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How to Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia ペーパーバック – 2014/2/6
A sharp, fresh satire for the ruthless modern world - for fans of Dave Eggers, Ben Lerner and Gary Shtenygart
'Mohsin Hamid is one of the best writers in the world, period. Only a master could have written this propulsive tale of a striver living on the knife's edge, a noir Horatio Alger story for our frenetic, violent times' Ben Fountain
This book is a self-help book. Its objective, as it says on the cover, is to show you how to get filthy rich in rising Asia. And to do that it has to find you, huddled, shivering, on the packed earth under your mother's cot one cold, dewy morning. Your anguish is the anguish of a boy whose chocolate has been thrown away, whose remote controls are out of batteries, whose scooter is busted, whose new sneakers have been stolen. This is all the more remarkable since you've never in your life seen any of these things . . .
'Even more intriguing, compelling and moving than The Reluctant Fundamentalist. A marvellous book' Philip Pullman
'Brilliantly structured, deeply felt [and] written with the confidence and bravura of a man born to write. Hamid is at the peak of his considerable powers here, and delivers a tightly paced, preternaturally wise book about a thoroughly likable, thoroughly troubled striver in the messiest, most chaotic ring of global economy. Completely unforgettable' Dave Eggers, author of The Circle
Beautifully conceived and exquisitely executed ― Sunday Times
The new voice of a changing continent. A writer at the top of his game ― Metro
No story could be more of our time than this one. Conceptually brilliant and truly empathic -- Nell Freudenberger ― Metro
An ultra-intelligent and knowing account of life in the developing world. Simply brilliant ― Daily Mail
Isn't this the definition of great fiction, that even when it begins with a character . . . who's nothing like you, by the end you are convinced that it really is about you? That's a kind of miracle ― Salon
Even more intriguing, compelling and moving than The Reluctant Fundamentalist. A marvellous book ― Philip Pullman
A dazzling stylistic tour de force; a love story disguised as a self help parody freighted with sly social satire. As timely and timeless a novel as I've read in years -- Jay McInerney
- 出版社 : Penguin (2014/2/6)
- 発売日 : 2014/2/6
- 言語 : 英語
- ペーパーバック : 240ページ
- ISBN-10 : 0241144671
- ISBN-13 : 978-0241144671
- 寸法 : 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
- Amazon 売れ筋ランキング: - 353,375位洋書 (の売れ筋ランキングを見る洋書)
Towards the end of the book, Hamid says "How strange that when I imagine, I feel. The capacity for empathy is a funny thing". And feel I did, right throughout the book (intensified by the book's structure and literary metaphor) and I became enlightened about non western realities by almost directly experiencing them. I empathised with the appalling conditions of the rural poor, and then with the huge hardships of the urban poor - very striking for me was no affordable palliative care and the description the hero's mother dying in agony. I also empathised with how hard it was for the hero to make a better life for himself and the seemingly necessary corruption and compromises that became second nature to him. Surprisingly to me, the life of the urban rich also seemed very fraught, not with a lack of material necessities but with fear and ever present danger, needing security guards and barricades, and endless politics. Life seemed/ seems very hard for everyone in rising Asia and virtually unbearable for those not "rising" at all. The book, as other reviewers have noted, is also a tender love story. Mohsin Hamid's writing is pure genius, his prose is exquisite and deserves slow reading so every word can be devoured.
Rising Asia, meanwhile, based on the characters and places described, can only be India or Pakistan, not China, certainly, or even a Southeast Asian country. Hamid's writing strikes a balance between sarcasm and the faux-optimistic tone of the self-help genre, while at the same time leaving place for the personal, the psychological, the more poignant. This makes the book work as a novel while allowing time to stand still, as it would do in an actual self-help book, so that Hamid's social critique remains focused on contemporary Asia. Indeed, the character ends the story at eighty-or-so years old - had the story's setting aged with him, it would have had to start back in colonial times. Hamid is an accomplished writer, and his novel is at once intriguing, entertaining, and a moving story.
Many of the trends, such as urbanization, pollution, corruption, religious / political fundamentalism, change in family values, the local variety of the 'American Dream'... that are a prominent feature of life in the countries indirectly addressed by this book come across quite clearly, and the self help framework adds a novel twist to the book.
In addition to societal observations, the twin stories of the male and female protagonists intertwine into an almost seven decade long on and off love relationship, which adds some warmth to the book and somewhat blunts the edge of the author's otherwise quite biting, if probably very realistic, observations in the book.
Overall I found the novel to be a very good mix of societal commentary and well laid out fiction and could definitely see myself reading more of his work in the future on the strength of this book. The step by step guide to becoming filthy rich, being an added bonus (if very much tongue in cheek).
Secondly, the story itself is incredibly charming. And moving. Our nameless young man begins as a child growing up in a pretty poor family (there's a lovely passage about the fact that this boy has never seen trainers or other material goods that would be familiar to most children of most people able to afford this book in hardback). And we follow the boy's entire life - that's the essence of the novel - as he tries to climb up and become 'filthy rich in rising Asia'.
Thirdly, the novel tackles both interesting fictional questions - challenging the reader at the start of each chapter, for example, telling the reader late on that 'we must hurry, we are nearing the end' - as well as political, social and economic questions... about how economic development takes place, corruption and bribes, the role of the state, the need for violence to back up threats, the nature of marriages... without ever making those discussions anything other than totally personal and essential to the story.
I really enjoyed the combination of the intellectual challenge of the book's construction, with the sweetness of the main story, especially the love/not love story at the book's heart. It reminded me in that respect of Then We Came to the End: A Novel , another formally astonishing but very moving novel. A perfect demonstration of a good novel's power to hoist you out of your own circumstances and dangle you into the life of another, however faraway and different. "To read a story is to be a refugee from the state of refugees". Highly recommended.