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The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (and my personal favourite to win) is in hardcover at 23.50 euros.
At a café table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger, who begins a tale that has brought them to this fateful meeting.
Changez is living an immigrant’s dream of America. Top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by an elite firm that specialises in the valuation of companies ripe for acquisition. Changez thrives on the energy of New York and the intensity of his work. He is infatuated with the elegant, beautiful Erica who promises to be his entry into Manhattan society.
For a time, it seems as though nothing will stand in the way of his meteoric rise to personal and professional success. In the wake of September 11, however, he finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned and his budding relationship with Erica is eclipsed by reawakened ghosts of her past.
Beautifully written and brilliantly constructed, Hamid manages to sustain the tension in this thriller while analysing the state of our world today.