Discontent and Its Civilizations

Discontent and Its Civilizations

Dispatches From Lahore, New York, and London

eBook - 2015
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"From "one of his generation's most inventive and gifted writers" (The New York Times), intimate and sharply observed commentary on life, art, politics, and "the war on terror." Mohsin Hamid's brilliant, moving, and extraordinarily clever novels have not only made him an international bestseller, they have earned him a reputation as a "master critic of the modern global condition" (Foreign Policy). His stories are at once timeless and of-the-moment, and his themes are universal: love, language, ambition, power, corruption, religion, family, identity. Here he explores this terrain from a different angle in essays that deftly counterpoise the personal and the political, and are shot through with the same passion, imagination, and breathtaking shifts of perspective that gives his fiction its unmistakable electric charge. A "water lily" who has called three countries on three continents his home-Pakistan, the birthplace to which he returned as a young father; the United States, where he spent his childhood and young adulthood; and Britain, where he married and became a citizen-Hamid writes about overlapping worlds with fluidity and penetrating insight. Whether he is discussing courtship rituals or pop culture, drones or the rhythms of daily life in an extended family compound, he transports us beyond the scarifying headlines of an anxious West and a volatile East, beyond stereotype and assumption, and helps to bring a dazzling diverse global culture within emotional and intellectual reach. "-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Hardcover, 2015
ISBN: 9780698185036
069818503X
Characteristics: text file
1 online resource

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shayshortt
Aug 04, 2016

“Recently I met a woman visiting Lahore from Hong Kong. Friends of hers abroad asked her why she was traveling to such a troubled country. She said it was like visiting a loved one when they were sick. No one relishes exposing themselves to illness, but when a parent or sibling is unwell, human instinct is to be with them until they recover. Pakistan is feverish these days. But I find much to admire and keep me here, and I hope for the sake of my daughter’s generation that one day soon the fever will break.”

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shayshortt
Aug 04, 2016

“Hybrids do more than embody mixtures between groups. Hybrids reveal the boundaries between groups to be false.”

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shayshortt
Aug 04, 2016

“People often ask me if I am the book’s Pakistani protagonist. I wonder why they never ask if I am his American listener. After all, a novel can be a divided man’s conversation with himself.”

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shayshortt
Aug 04, 2016

Thematically, the book addresses the liminality of being from many places and nowhere at the same time. Hamid has lived at various times in Lahore, New York, and London, as he is of all of them, and none of them. The tension is heightened by the ongoing disagreements between the West and Islam, and Hamid finds himself cast as an unlikely interpreter between the two. While there are a few essays from the turn of the millennium, most of this work addresses a post-9/11 world. Many of the pieces first appeared in The New York Times, but others were published in Pakistani magazines or Indian newspapers so that we see Hamid speaking explicitly to both sides. The pieces range widely, but it is to this interpretive role that he returns again and again. In the end, you will know a bit about him as a person and as a writer, and how these identities have informed his view of the world. Full review: https://shayshortt.com/2016/08/04/discontent-and-its-civilizations/

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shayshortt
Aug 04, 2016

Discontent and Its Civilizations is a collection of essays spanning the past fifteen years by globe-trotting novelist Mohsin Hamid. Born in Pakistan, he spent his childhood in California, his teen years in Lahore, and returned to America to study first at Princeton, and then Harvard Law School. When the twin towers fell on 9/11, he had just moved from New York to London. The essays are divided into three sections entitled “Life,” “Art,” and “Politics,” but of course the three are inextricably bound.

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