Book Review: Discontent and its civilizations by Mohsin Hamid


  • ISBN: 978-0-143-42399-7
  • Genre: Non fiction
  • Publishers: Penguin
  • Price: Rs. 399/- (I got this book from the publisher for review)
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.

Behind The book
Source: Goodreads
 About the author

Mohsin Hamid is a Pakistani author best known for his novels Moth Smoke (2000), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013).His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, featured on bestseller lists, and adapted for the cinema. His short stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, and the Paris Review, and his essays in the Guardian, the New York Times, and the New York Review of Books. Born in 1971, he has lived about half his life, on and off, in Lahore. He also spent part of his early childhood in California, attended Princeton and Harvard, and worked for a decade as a management consultant in New York and London, mostly part-time

Me thinks

Having read the first two works of the author he is one on my can-be-grabbed-without-reading-the-blurb category! But the moment I saw this one I knew I wanted to read this for it had dispatches from Lahore, New York and London three cities I have always been fascinated with for the distinct lives they hold within their realms.

I began reading this book without any pre-conceived notions or ideas as I wanted to just bask in his words and ideologies. I didn’t want my own thoughts to overlap his and create a huge mishmash killing the charm of reading such a wonderful book. And am glad I did that. It surely made the whole process of reading very enriching.

The whole book has been neatly divided into articles based on three large themes – life, art and politics, something I believe defines the author’s life to the T. He has captured some very oblivious things which do haunt us at times but we tend to push them aside to carry on with our own interpretation of life.
Some of my personal favourite articles would be – Get Fit with Haruki Murakami, Why they get Pakistan Wrong, to fight India We fought ourselves and how do e-books change the reading experience. The author writes with a certain innocence and a lot of depth which make each of his penned articles a very invigorating read. Though it would be unfair to pick favourites the book surely has certain masterpieces in it.

A recommended read for all those who enjoy reading global politics without any prejudices in mind.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like a mint cookie- sweet, crunchy with a unique freshness of its own!