Review: Discontent and its Civilizations by Mohsin Hamid

February 25, 2015

Author: Mohsin Hamid
Publisher: Penguin Group
Year: 2014
ISBN: 9780143423997
Rating: ★★★★★
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Read it! Just take my word for it and read it!!

Discontent and its Civilizations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York and London is a splendid collection of articles and essays by the best-selling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Moth Smoke, Mohsin Hamid.  Just like his other works, this book is engaging, insightful and it pushes you to think. The book is divided into three heads: Life, Arts and Politics.

The introduction of the book in itself is persuasive enough for me to give it a big thumbs up. The ideology, the writing, the examples and comparisons, all so fluidly presented, are enchanting! As the subtitle suggests (Dispatches from Lahore, New York and London), the stories and essays encompass the writer’s time in each of these places and how all of it came to feel like home. Being already acquainted with other writings of Mohsin Hamid and belonging to the unjustly portrayed Indian subcontinent made this experience much more personal and relatable. Mohsin’s writing style is fluid and full of insight; he looks at his surroundings in a way that’s never been done before. Reading this book is like making a friend. It urges us to bring out the feelings that are buried in the deep recesses of our being. Reading this book is like talking to a friend, hearing them pour their heart out. This book is about getting to know the writer better.

Although all of the pieces make an absolutely interesting read, some of my favorites are Art & other Pakistans (discovering the soul of the country in a whole new light), Pereira Transforms, Enduring love of the Second Person and Fear and Silence.

This book is writer Mohsin Hamid’s take on various subjects close to his heart – the influence art has on politics, how physical agility is important for flow of creativity (Get Fit with Haruki Murakami), how untrue popular media depiction of Pakistan is, and how home is much more than a place, it is a state of mind!

Do check out the other works of this writer, his work in fiction is sublime!

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