Sunday, December 1, 2013

How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia: A Review

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising AsiaHow to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, I will caveat here that I have loved Moth Smoke and Reluctant Fundamentalist for too long and harbored a desire to read another one of Hamid's book for some time now. No wonder then that I picked this book at its launch.

The book lived, unread, in my book-shelf for sometime before it got its due. The self-help masquerade of the book prevented me from picking it up immediately and devouring it. It seemed to be slightly conceited from the couple of pages I had managed to go through at the book shop and it was only with a heavy heart that I made the purchase.

That being said, after reading it I found the writing in second person truly unique. It takes a writer of caliber to write authentically to put the reader as a protagonist. It worked well for me at least - an Asian boy. I am not sure how universal or contextual this authenticity is.

The self-help masquerade does not really work well, but if you consider that as a commentary on how self-help books rarely help the reader - I think the message is very well conceptualized.

Every chapter starts with a self-help-ish idea and then it goes into a variety of things not remotely related to the idea of the chapter! To me it seemed like a clever ploy in criticism of the genre. Every writer is coming from a unique life circumstances and his story will not have the answers for readers. Point taken, Mr. Hamid.

What struck me about the book was the honest to heart narrative written with a lot of, well, heart. Some of the things he says in this book seem like a rehash of things that he said so beautifully in Moth Smoke. But I liked it when I read those parts again. Like the contrast between the people of either side of the economic divide. The aspirations of the poor to pole-vault the divide to reach the other side. The trade-offs, the compromises and the death bed - where none of these matters but only what you loved, who you loved and whose love did you receive.

Maybe I am a sucker for this stuff, but I really enjoyed the short and sweet latest co-creation exercise from Mohsin Hamid.

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