Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

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I’m a fan of Mohsin Hamid’s previous two novels (particularly his first, Moth Smoke) and also enjoyed his third (admittedly oddly-named) book, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. The book begins as a “self-help” work that goes on to narrate the story of the never-named protagonist in the second person. It’s an effective strategy to draw one in, and it quickly fades to the background in any case as you follow the story of a boy born into a poor South Asian family and his rise through the social ranks as an adult.

The book may follow a seemingly clear rags-to-riches plot, but just below the surface is also a compelling love story that threads throughout the book and, in some ways, characterizes the man’s entire life. The book is short and readable but also invokes a wide range of themes. Questions of destiny and hard work, love and loss, loyalty and betrayal, surface repeatedly throughout the novel and are dealt with in complex, insightful ways.

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