First Sentence: Look, unless you’re writing one, a self-help book is an oxymoron.
Back of the book:
In this keenly awaited follow-up to his bestselling The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid confirms his place as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the world’s pulse.
The astonishing and riveting tale of a man’s journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon, it steals its shape from the business self-help books devoured by youths all over ‘rising Asia’. It follows its nameless hero to the sprawling metropolis where he begins to amass an empire built on the most fluid and increasingly scarce of goods: water. Yet his heart remains set on something else, on the pretty girl whose star rises alongside his, their paths crossing and re-crossing in a love affair sparked and snuffed out again by the forces that careen their fates along.
The hero of the story could be any one of us, hungry for a different life. And ours too could be the fate that awaits him . . .
Quotes from the book:
[…] for even though you are a man in his mid-thirties, you have only recently been introduced to the types of silences that exist in a home with one occupant, and emotionally you stagger about this new reality like a sailor returned to land after decades at sea.
‘You watch one after another of the ubiquitous, hyper-argumentative talk shows that fill your television, aware that in their fury they make politics a game, diverting public attention rather than focusing it.’
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Last Sentence: And she comes to you, and she does not speak, and the others do not notice her, and she takes your hand, and you ready yourself to die, eyes open, aware this is all an illusion, a last aroma cast up by the chemical stew that is your brain, which will soon cease to function, and there will be nothing, and you are ready, ready to die well, ready to die like a man, like a woman, like a human, for despite all else you have loved, you have loved your father and your mother and your brother and your sister and your son and, yes, your ex-wife, and you have loved the pretty girl, you have been beyond yourself, and so you have courage, and you have dignity, and you have calmness in the face of terror, and awe, and the pretty girl holds your hand, and you contain her, and this book, and me writing it, and I too contain you, who may not yet even be born, you inside me inside you, though not in a creepy way, and so may you, may I, may we, so may all of us confront the end.