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9781594487293

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel

Hamid, Mohsin Author

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"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.

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Review:

Amazon Guest Review of “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia,” by Mohsin Hamid

By Nell Freudenberger

Nell Freudenberger is the author of, The Newlyweds and Lucky Girls.

I was at a party the other night, when the man standing next to me said, "Where is the next great novel in the second person" (Will someone PLEASE start inviting me to some better parties?) As it turned out, I had an answer without even thinking about it, since I had just finished Mohsin Hamid's extraordinary How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.

This is the kind of novel with a conceit that any writer would envy: the book's structure mimics that of the cheap self-help books sold at sidewalk stands all over South Asia, alongside computer manuals and test-prep textbooks. Each chapter begins with a rule--"Work for Yourself," "Don't Fall in Love," "Be Prepared to Use Violence"--and expertly evolves into a narrative.

In precise, notably unsentimental prose, Hamid tells the story of an unnamed boy who moves from a village to a city. Hamid's decision not to name his character or his new home (which feels like Lahore, but could be any number of South Asian cities) is part of what makes the book so urgent and contemporary. "At each subsequent wonder you think you have arrived, that surely nothing could belong more to your destination than this, and each time you are proven wrong until you cease thinking and simply surrender to the layers of marvels and visions washing over you." This boy's journey is part of an enormous migration that is one of the great twenty-first-century stories, and yet Hamid makes it feel intimate and individual: a saucer-eyed kid in the dark on the back of a truck.

How To Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a love story as much as a success story, and the opposition of its hero's twin passions gives the book a propulsive intensity. I found myself unable to do anything else until I finished it, and I don't think there's a reader on earth who could help wanting Hamid's hero to succeed--both in business and in his pursuit of "the pretty girl" whom he has loved since childhood. Her capital is a beautiful face that is emblematic of the way her country's ideals are changing; their tumultuous relationship both depends upon their shared past and is frustrated by their common need to escape it.

This short novel encompasses an especially eventful life, as its hero builds a small bottled water operation into a hugely successful company and realizes at least some of his dreams. At the same time, the substance of each chapter calls the self-help precept that began it into question--and finally the larger meaning of helping oneself. Can we help ourselves, and how much of our destinies do we control? What is the price of becoming "filthy rich," and does it mean something different for a village kid than it would for someone born into more comfortable circumstances? Hamid is especially moving on the subject of the hero's siblings, whose failure to capitalize on the city's promise has more to do with chance than with their particular characters. What the reader comes away with above all else is a feeling of tenderness for humankind as a whole--so vulnerable, and with such fierce desires.

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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Book Description Riverhead Hardcover, 2013. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "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 "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 "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 strivingindeed, 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 "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 "Ambition rules in this playful third novel. subtle and rich." Publishers Weekly PRAISE FOR THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST "Elegant and chilling." The New York Times Book Review "Changez's voice is extraordinary. Cultivated, restrained, yet also barbed and passionate, it evokes the power of butler Stevens in Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day . brilliantly written and well worth a read." Seattle Times "Slender, smart, and subversive." Entertainment Weekly "Far from seeming bothered by the literariness of literature, Mohsin Hamid appears to savor it. Ambiguity starts out as the delicate organizing principle of his novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist . By the end of the book it has turned into the disturbing payoff." New York Review of Books "[A] lucid, unsettling novel." New Yorker "Much of its magic - the enchantment and innocence of the relationship, the absolute familiarity and foreignness of America, the fragrant boisterousness and menace of Lahore - hinges on the unsaid." London Review of Books "An unsettling novel for unsettling times." San Diego Union-Tribune "It's a testament to author Mohsin Hamid's skill that Changez, despite [his] cold-blooded admission, remains a partly sympathetic character. Everything we know comes to us by his voice, by turns emotionally raw, teasingly ambiguous, fawning and tinged with menace. We read on to see what he will reveal, increasingly certain he will also conceal." Dallas Morning News "Taut and accomplished." San Francisco Chronicle. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_1594487294

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