Mohsin Hamid’s books are biting and raw in their nature of storytelling. Nothing is rosy and that his readers are aware of. Nothing is sugar-coated. He tells it the way it is and maybe that is why his readers like reading what he has to write. Hamid writes about the society, the way he sees it. Whether it is a story of a young man in love in his first book to a fundamentalist born out of probably no choice in his second to his latest offering, “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia”, which is as raw and vicious as the other two.
The book is unusual in its writing and plot. It is a satire on the society told fictionally, through a self-help book format, with twelve rules in place on how to get filthy rich in rising Asia. It is the story of a young boy (unnamed but of course), born into a poor family. As he moves on from the village to a slum in the unnamed big city, his hopes and aspirations rise. He wants to be the very best. He wants to be rich and nothing else beyond that. As he rises through the success ladder, and sets up a bottled water factory, he realizes that everything but of course comes for a price. At the end of it all, there is one thing that remains constant in his life: His teenage love – he can never forget and yearns for all the time and all those years. The book is all about his life and the people in his life and the consequences of wanting to get “filthy rich” in rising Asia.
That in short is the plot of the book. The writing being sarcastic is highly humorous and at the same time leaves you with a sense of sadness as you turn the pages. Mohsin Hamid’s writing is strong and packed with punches and surprises in almost every chapter. The reality of the situation is seen and at the same time, it tends to get boring at a couple of places, given the repetitive start to every chapter, which is that of a self-help book.
“How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia” is a short book and yet touches on the complexities of living and surviving in big cities. It portrays the paradoxes that lie in “Rising Asia” and its impact on the so-called “class” system that exists. Like I said, Hamid does not shy away from saying and seeing things the way they are. The book is highly entertaining and also thought-provoking to a very large extent. A perfect read for a Sunday afternoon.