Saturday, 4 May 2013

Book review: How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is a love story disguised as a satire on both self-help books and the social norms of the Asia it is set in.

The tale follows its unnamed protagonist from a young boy to an old man, as he journeys from a village to an unnamed city to make his fortune.

Each chapter, like those in self-help books, is titled with the piece of advice to help you move to the next stage of becoming filthy rich.

With no names, it could be easy to think that it would be difficult to connect with the characters in How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, but that's not the case. Written in the second person, there's an immediate connection because the author, who is part narrator and part the protagonist, is addressing his reader directly.

I quickly found myself hooked on the story of the protagonist, wondering what was going to happen next, and I was completely invested in his successes and failures.

Hidden in between the story of the novel are comments on Asia's rapid rise, and the things some of that rise is built on - including a poor that is very poor, corrupt government officials and a lot of cutting corners.

At its core, How to Get Filthy Rich in Asia is a beautiful, but very realistic, love story of two people who form a bond that lasts a lifetime. It's painful to read at times, but ultimately touching.

Hamid has written a timeless novel in How to Get Filthy Rich in Asia, one I will definitely revisit in the future.

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