The Reluctant Fundamentalist

[work process]

The Reluctant Fundamentalist does exquisitely reveal the delicate borderline between here and there, no matter if it’s East and West, corporation and religion, past and present. This message reminds us that nothing’s just Black or White—it’s all about nuances, and who is to define what is dark and what is light. 9/11 lends a hand to the Americans in using the Black and White clichés—we all have the right to choose.

[a poster with the cover incorporating the draft versions of the book concept]

Working on the cover, I had a conversation with Manol (Janet 45) about this delicate borderline. I also called Nevena Dichlieva (the novel is her choice and her translation) and we discussed the multilayered narrative of Mohsin Hamid, the way the novel functions on different levels and how the message reaches a broader audience. This is an approach that I myself try to explore in my work and find it appealing.

I chose to implement the multi-levels approach for the cover as well—using the characteristic New York skyline as a background, I inserted several distinctive silhouettes of mosques. I also explored the girl being the parallel story throughout the book: a story that is actually an illustration of the inner struggle of Changez (the protagonist). Colum McCann, in his Let the great World Spin, explores the precarious balance between the priest and the man on the rope, whereas in The Reluctant Fundamentalist Mohsin illustrates the transformation corporate officer/fundamentalist via the romantic love story and the changes in Erica’s mind.

Below is my correspondence with the writer illustrating my attempts—not excessively crude, I hope—to bring the inner conversation out

Translation Nevena Dichlieva

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