The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
This is an amazing book, very well written and poignant, that tells of a young man from Pakistan who wins a scholarship to Princeton and then gets a prestigious job in New York. Set against the backdrop of “9/11” his career as an analyst, discovering the fundamentals about companies, makes him reflect more widely on America, the new world he has entered and the old world he left behind. It leads him to a crisis and the rejection of the new world that he had initially embraced.
It is a subtle and insightful critique of the USA and the post 9/11 foreign policy viewed from a sympathetic observer from another culture.
The story is also about boundaries and relationships as there is a parallel personal narrative of his friendship and love of a beautiful, but troubled young American woman.
It is a very short book and I found the unusual style of telling the story a little annoying at first but I was impressed by the ambiguity of the ending.
One of my favourite quotations from the book is - "Such journeys have convinced me that it is not always possible to restore one's boundaries after they have been blurred and made permeable by a relationship: try as we might, we cannot reconstitute ourselves as the autonomous beings we previously imagined ourselves to be. Something of us is now outside, and something of the outside is now within us."