An essay by Mohsin Hamid (titled My reluctant fundamentalist) about the process of writing his novel “The reluctant fundamentalist.” What stands out in this piece is an excellent description of the extended and often painful act of creation – in this case a novel. I have not read the novel, sadly, but this essay speaks to me at multiple levels. It captures this split-identity effect, between India and the US (in my case) and Pakistan and the US (a bigger split by far) in his. It also captures the seemingly aimless process by which we construct “truth” through art – difficult to define and yet so easy to recognize. As Hamid says, “For me, writing a novel is like solving a puzzle.” But a strange kind of puzzle it is – one whose solution is not predetermined by the designer of the puzzle (think Rubik’s cube or any other puzzle for that matter) but rather a puzzle whose solution evolves through the very act of trying to solve it.
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