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How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asiaby Mohsin Hamid
Synopses & Reviews
From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the boldly imagined tale of a poor boys quest for wealth and love...
His first two novels established Mohsin Hamid as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the worlds pulse. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia meets that reputation — and exceeds it. The astonishing and riveting tale of a mans journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon, it steals its shape from the business self-help books devoured by ambitious youths all over rising Asia.” It follows its nameless hero to the sprawling metropolis where he begins to amass an empire built on that most fluid, and increasingly scarce, of goods: water. Yet his heart remains set on something else, on the pretty girl whose star rises along with his, their paths crossing and recrossing, a lifelong affair sparked and snuffed and sparked again by the forces that careen their fates along.
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a striking slice of contemporary life at a time of crushing upheaval. Romantic without being sentimental, political without being didactic, and spiritual without being religious, it brings an unflinching gaze to the violence and hope it depicts. And it creates two unforgettable characters who find moments of transcendent intimacy in the midst of shattering change.
"Ambition rules in this playful third novel from PEN/Hemingway Award finalist Hamid (The Reluctant Fundamentalist). The novel follows the unnamed narrator's journey from his village childhood to becoming a corporate superstar in the big city. The novel is told in the second person, the narrator ushering us through a life in an unidentified developing Asian country while elucidating the many conditions that must be met to become filthy rich. The hero seems to be on the right track; still, he must navigate the usual obstacles in life that could hinder the way to his final goal: family illness, bad luck, and most dangerously, love. The protagonist is merely a teenager when he meets his ideal woman, but this pretty girl's life has a similar arc as the hero's. Though readers may find it frustrating that they never overlap for long, the intermittent intersections provide them an anchor to the lives they left in desperation. The book takes its formal cues from the self-help genre, but the adopting of that form's unceasing optimism also nullifies any sense of depth or struggle. Fortunately, Hamid offers a subtle and rich look at the social realities of developing countries, including corruption, poverty, and how economic development affects daily life from top to bottom. Agent: Jay Mandel, William Morris Endeavor." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"It is a measure of Mr. Hamid's audacious talents that he manages to make his protagonists story work on so many levels....With How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia Mr. Hamid reaffirms his place as one of his generations most inventive and gifted writers." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Thanks to Hamid's meticulous use of detail — and his sympathy for a man on the make in a society of endemic poverty — we engage deeply with a serious character whose essence remains his own yet who stands as a figure representative of his time and place, an effect only the best novelists can create... This tale of an unscrupulous striver may bring to mind a globalized version of The Great Gatsby. Given the unabashed gimmickry of Hamid's how-to design, it's a pleasant surprise to find that his book is nearly that good." Alan Cheuse, NPR
"Extraordinarily clever...Hamid has taken the most American form of literature — the self-help book — and transformed it to tell...a surprisingly moving story." Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"Brilliant....In its cleverness, its slightly cruel satire and its complex understanding of both Western and Eastern paradigms, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is pure Hamid... His storytelling style is both timeless and contemporary, a postmodern Scheherazade....This novel is smart about many things, including medicine and the processes of death, but is smartest of all about literature itself." Marion Winik, Newsday
"Written in the most compelling second person since Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City, with which it also shares a sharp take on our frenetic, urban lives, Hamid's novel proves that the most compelling fiction today is coming from South Asia." The Daily Beast
"This brilliantly structured, deeply felt book is 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 the global economy. Completely unforgettable." Dave Eggers, author of A Hologram for the King
"Hamid's choice to write a bildungsroman wrapped inside a self-help manual is an inspired one....Hamid has left us with no doubts about how state and market, law and crime, nation and corporation, and money and violence go together — in rising Asia as in the rest of the world." Bookforum
"An astonishing and riveting tale of a man's journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon." The Nation
"A joyously barbed satire on entrepreneurialism and the juggernaut of globalisation... Will be one of the standout novels of the year." The Guardian
"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. The road to filthy riches is nasty, brutish, and long, yet Hamid's talent is such that we see the humanity in all this striving — indeed, on finishing this extraordinary book, one wonders if the striving might be the sincerest expression of our flawed, fragile humanity." Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
"A dazzling stylistic tour de force; a love story disguised as a self-help guide, freighted with sly social satire. As timely and timeless a novel as I've read in years." Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City and How It Ended
"A marvelous book." Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass
About the Author
Mohsin Hamid's first novel, Moth Smoke, won the Betty Trask Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Prize. His second, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a bestseller in the United States and abroad, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Hamid contributes to Time, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others. He lives in Lahore, Pakistan.
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