Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dear Great Book Guru, I was waiting with friends to hear the Sea Cliff Village election results, when I overheard a couple discussing a new book set in East Asia with an intriguing title. Well, there was such cheering and applause when the Kennedy/Vogt/Lieberman victory was announced, I couldn't catch the exact title. Any ideas?  Election Night Celebrant

Dear Election Night Celebrant, I was at the election lockdown too and what fun it was!  Although it was an uncontested election, the candidates ran a spirited campaign. The hero of the book you are interested in is also spirited and the book a great choice for the upcoming weekend: HOW TO GET FILTHY RICH IN RISING ASIA by Mohsin Hamid. Written in the form (very loosely) of a self-help manual, the novel takes us through the life of our nameless hero from his early boyhood in a rural village through the decades to a spectacular conclusion. His lifelong companion also unnamed is referred to always as "the pretty girl." The politics, the violence, the vitality of this turbulent time and place is skillfully recorded but it is the author's description of the universal rise and fall of human vitality that is most memorable. Whether we see our hero as a young teenager selling DVDs or as a successful businessman creating an empire built on the need for clean water, or as an elderly man bereft of health and wealth, we find ourselves always empathizing with his plight. Highly recommended!

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