Review by Sarah
March 2013 by Riverhead Hardcover
Amazon + Good Reads
"From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the boldly imagined tale of a poor boy’s quest for wealth and love.
His first two novels established Mohsin Hamid as a radically inventive storyteller with his finger on the world’s pulse. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia meets that reputation—and exceeds it. 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 ambitious youths all over “rising Asia.” It follows its nameless hero to the sprawling metropolis where he begins to amass an empire built on that most fluid, and increasingly scarce, of goods: water. Yet his heart remains set on something else, on the pretty girl whose star rises along with his, their paths crossing and recrossing, a lifelong affair sparked and snuffed and sparked again by the forces that careen their fates along.
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a striking slice of contemporary life at a time of crushing upheaval. Romantic without being sentimental, political without being didactic, and spiritual without being religious, it brings an unflinching gaze to the violence and hope it depicts. And it creates two unforgettable characters who find moments of transcendent intimacy in the midst of shattering change."
I’ll be the first to admit it – I judge books based not only on their cover, but also on their title. If a book has a pretty cover, awesome. If it also has an intriguing title, I’m sold. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is the name of a book my eyes would typically scan over and not give a second glance. However, I’m so glad I did.
So, why did I pick this book up? I had heard nothing but rave reviews from many people. Even John Green, one of my favorite authors, advocated for this book.
Set up as a self-help book, this book literally explores how to get filthy rich in rising Asia. But with a twist. It is written in second person, something I had not experienced before. You are placed in the book. You find yourself making decisions you might agree or disagree with and falling in love with a “pretty girl.” Mohsin Hamid creates vivid details and uses second person narrative to make you feel like a part of a story you probably never would have experienced otherwise.
I enjoyed that the book explored all parts of the protagonist’s life – even the harder times. It made me feel more connected to the story and the main character. Could I go to Asia and become filthy rich? I doubt it. But did I enjoy reading about how to? Definitely.
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia was compellingly lovely. Don’t hesitate to drop everything and read it.
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