Do you need help? More importantly, does your self need help? In How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, author Mohsin Hamid assumes you do. His third novel is built on the framework of a literary genre propagated and perfected by myriad experts and leaders who seek to give people the means to help themselves. Having lifted this step-by-step format, Hamid writes in a hyper-aware second person making you, the reader, the subject of his assistance.
This novel tells the story of you—or who you could be if you were a young, sickly boy seeking to escape the countryside and achieve wealth in the big city. In the book have no name, of course—you being you—but you do have a family. You also have siblings, education and flirtations with religion. You have a love interest. But you marry someone else, you start a company based on providing citizens barely-safe drinking water, and you aid and abet corruption at every level of government you encounter. You could be anyone. But by the grace of Hamid's astute storytelling, you are someone.
You realize as you read that this book is not really about self-help, but the disguise helps guide you from point to point in your life. The gap between chapters often spans years, making leaps to capture your advancing age and shifting attitudes. Despite this, somehow, you are aware of what must have happened in those gaps. This novel is short. Some may describe the writing as sparse, but despite the economy of words, the story is full. In just 228 pages, Hamid confronts many of the most human questions: Is love real? Will faith save you? Will money? What does politics achieve? How should you approach death?
He answers these questions for you, too. Some answers are more direct than others, but you understand them all the same. Filthy Rich's strength lies in its anonymity. It does not specifically assign itself to a country (though based on Hamid's background, I assumed it was set in Pakistan), and it provides no names or identifying details about the characters. Still, though, Hamid creates in these pages a flawed and vibrant society where the novel's title targets the question on every person's mind. From page one, Hamid grabs you by the hand and pulls you through the phases of your life, where becoming filthy rich is only one point on the trajectory of your existence. So it turns out that his novel is indeed a self-help book—but instead of teaching you how to become rich, it tells you to worry about more important things.
In rising Asia, your success is built on leveraging the work and skills of others. Using what others have already made—whether it be the format of a self-help book or the cheapest method of purifying water—is the key to quickly making it to the top. The same is true in this tart, refreshing sparkling clementine-raspberry float. You could make all these things yourself...but why would you?
SPARKLING CLEMENTINE-RASPBERRY FLOAT
- 2-3 medium frozen strawberries
- 2 scoops raspberry sorbet
- 8 oz sparkling clementine juice
Chill a 10-oz. glass in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Place frozen strawberries in the bottom of chilled glass. Add 1 scoop of raspberry sorbet to the glass.
Pour sparkling clementine juice over strawberries and sorbet. Allow bubbles on top to settle. Add second (optional) scoop of raspberry sorbet.
Source: I bought this book from AbeBooks.com.