MOHSIN HAMID – RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST IS ESSENTIALLY A LOVE STORY
Posted by Vivek on February 26, 2014 | No Comments
The film has received critical acclaim world over, but the book stays longer with you and on talking to the author, it hits you instantly. 15 minutes with Mohsin Hamid, the Consultant turned Writer, reveals the reason. Mohsin’s thoughts and words stay on forever, in your mind. He is not an escapist, he embraces both his Consulting and Writing and reveals the thoughts that created a best seller, THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST. Mohsin, will be touring the world talking about his book. This includes stops in Toronto, as part of the, TIFF Bell Lightbox: Mohsin Hamid on The Reluctant Fundamentalist, to take place on Monday March 3 as part of their popular subscription series, Books on Film. In its fourth season, the series brings together book and film lovers to examine great cinema that began as outstanding literature.
Mohsin will join host Eleanor Wachtel of CBC’s Writers & Company to discuss Mira Nair’s adaptation of his novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which was hailed by The Guardian as one of the books that defined the decade and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Mohsin’s speaking schedule can be seen at http://www.mohsinhamid.com/connect.html
Here we get to speak telephonically with Mohsin, in Pakistan, prior to his North American trip:
Q. Has the movie adaptation accomplished what you set out with the book?
Firstly I want to say that I am very happy the book got made into a movie. This whole global amalgamation that went into making the movie, in a way, accomplishes a very key take away in the book, of co existence. The two, book and movies, are very different mediums and hence the treatment of character and incidents, is of course going to be distinct in the two. That being said, yes, in their own way, both the book and the movie, did justice to their respective medium, with the thought that was the formulation of all this.
Q. Better received outside than in the Sub Continent, why do you think? The book more than the movie?
Actually the more I travel and meet people, in the Sub Continent, the more they seem to be talking about the movie and the book, to me, so that by itself, indicates that it had gotten out there. The book probably a little more, cause books gradually evolve with people. So in the US the start was terrific, UK, slightly slower, but then it picked up in a big way. Same with the movie, I think, both will find their audiences over time too, they were written and made that way, it is going to be around for a while in people’s minds and the intention is that in due course more people will want to see it (the movie).
Q. What made you write this?
Not a particular moment, but a series of them. Growing up, working in corporate US, looking at the world, globally and from the US and then from the Sub Continent.
Q. What’s next, is Wall Street passe now?
Just a clarification, never was with a full on Wall Street company, like an Investment Bank, was working as a Consultant with McKinsey, where I got to experience all types of lives and characters and the life in McKinsey was as much about the business as about doing the right thing. So not passe at all, I enjoyed that part of my life and still have a lot of friends who continue to work there. You never know what the future holds.
Q. How much of your corporate background goes into the writing of the book?
A lot. The life experienced, while in McKinsey, was a unique experience. I got to see the world through those eye, travel and experience different situations, all of which helped shape the book and the characters. Also just wanted to emphasize that I was writing before I started my corporate endeavors, yet the corporate life gave it a structure and a discipline and a lot of what is inside the writing, is thanks to those corporate experiences.
Q. On Lahore as a contributor to his creativity?
The city has held its own identity, in the midst of all the changing South East Asian big cities. There is literature and art in the air, maybe that is why they have the literary fest here. It is one of the few cities, I have experienced where people will protest a tree big cut down. Also, poverty, is not as in your face, as in other Sub Continental cities, not saying it is richer, not sure, but it does not seem so apparent. It is that perfect balance that I seek, for my creativity.
Q. On the book striking such an emotional chord?
I think it has got to be remembered that it is essentially a love story. That is the underlying premise. It is the characters love affair with the US and how that plays out as things change. Maybe that is why it appears to be appealing to the emotions.