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How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
by Mohsin Hamid

Overview - "Mr. Hamid reaffirms his place as one of his generation's most inventive and gifted writers." -Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"
"A globalized version of "The Great Gatsby ." . . Hamid's] book is nearly that good." -Alan Cheuse, NPR
"Marvelous and moving." -"TIME Magazine"
From the internationally bestselling author of "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," the boldly imagined tale of a poor boy's quest for wealth and love .
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More About How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
 
 
 
Overview
"Mr. Hamid reaffirms his place as one of his generation's most inventive and gifted writers." -Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"
"A globalized version of "The Great Gatsby ." . . Hamid's] book is nearly that good." -Alan Cheuse, NPR
"Marvelous and moving." -"TIME Magazine"
From the internationally bestselling author of "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," the boldly imagined tale of a poor boy's quest for wealth and love . . .
His first two novels established Mohsin Hamid as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the world's pulse. "How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia" meets that reputation--and exceeds it. The astonishing and riveting tale of a man's 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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781594487293
  • ISBN-10: 1594487294
  • Publisher: Penguin Group USA
  • Publish Date: March 2013
  • Page Count: 228


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-12-03
  • Reviewer: Staff

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. (Mar.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Riding ambition to the top

Mohsin Hamid’s ambitious novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, puts a new spin on the self-help book, a genre known for its glib pronouncements and superficial imperatives (Get an Education! Learn from a Master!), and offers a piercing look at the economic realities of developing countries by tracking a young man’s rise from poverty to wealth.

An unnamed protagonist is born in a small village in an unidentified Asian country. After his family moves to the city, he begins to attend school. He proves to be clever and resourceful, though it is matters of chance such as birth order and gender that allow him to continue his education. He begins his steady climb up the ladder of success, first as a DVD delivery boy and gradually branching out into a business of his own, overcoming poverty, corruption and violence. At the same time, a pretty girl in the neighborhood also negotiates a climb to the top. Their paths cross several times in the novel and they anchor one another, each providing a reflection of how far they’ve come and what has been discarded along the way.

In his previous novels Moth Smoke and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, both set in the author’s hometown of Lahore, Pakistan, Hamid’s protagonists were also young men, struggling with social and religious changes, as well as their engagement with the West. The scope of How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is wider, looking at the opportunities wrought by global economic development with a critical, and sometimes brutally honest, eye. Hamid’s use of the second-person voice draws the reader close but allows him to shift perspective, offering objective details about the city or speculating about the effects of a low-protein diet on a teenage boy with a night job. The real delight of the novel is that beneath the blustery chapter headings, despite the relentlessly upwardly mobile rise of the narrator, lies a tender and romantic story of two people eventually finding happiness not based on their income. Perhaps being rich in love beats wealth in the end. 

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Read a Q&A with Mohsin Hamid for How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.

 
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