Thursday, March 5, 2009
Two Worlds Apart
To me, the thing that makes this book so unique and fascinating is the setting. It's fairly common to have a book in which the setting switches back and forth between different time periods, or different locations so as to enhance the plot, but it's not everyday that it is done in the style of Mohsin Hamid. He manages to switch back and forth between New York and Pakistan so smoothly, without distracting the reader with distinct separations or separate chapters for each setting. When I first starting the book, I thought that I'd get confused with the two parallel plots but I haven't gotten lost once in the story, since the two stories intertwine so well. The seemingly only contrasting locales end up having several similarities, and we can see this so well through Changez's narration. New York is a place of endless activity, there is always something going on. In New York, Changez is a man of class with several honors, yet he remains humble throughout and as a result of this, he stands out. The way he melds with New York while still being a unique character helps us understand so much more. As we see Changez reflect on his time in America, and he subtly points out the differences and similarties between his two homes, we learn about Lahore and the people who live there. The way he deals with the changes in setting help us learn so much about Changez, while adding to the plot.