This is an excellent novella, and can be read in a couple of hours due to its easy, conversational style prose.
The narrator takes us through his story, one of taking his opportunities as a Pakistani immigrant in New York, his life as a high flyer in business and a strained but intense realtionship with an American girl.
But the winds of 9/11 blow cold in his life and Changez finds himself re evaluating his attitudes to the Society that has given him such wonderful freedom of choice.
I found myself musing on this when I recieved a message in response to my comments about Steve McQueen’s masterpiece of film making, Hunger and reflections on the motivations of former good friend turned IRA terrorist Declan Moen.
I replied, asking a number of questions which only someone with intricate knowledge of the case would know. For example I deliberatley mistook Moen’s hometown, and the guy corrected me.
He is a former MI5 agent and here are his remarks;
Deckie and his mate Connor Gilmore got less than what they deserved. If I had my way they wouldn’t have got the chance to go to jail.
They were part of an ASU working directly to Northern Command under the command of Sean (Spike) Murray, who by the way is now on a group that decides on which marches go ahead in NI.
The NC ASU’s were set up to carry their war to the peaceful areas of NI and were recruited from cleans. People with no connection with republicians and no family that were.
I spent three years undercover at the Uni, infiltrated the unit, then took them down.
In the time that I spent there PIRA had taken over control of the local students union at the Coleraine campus. The used funds and transport to pay for their intel gathering.
They identified police officers living in the triangle and supplied the full students register to PIRA Int.
Declan even got a job working at the Royal golf club to identify officer who played there.
The union offices were used as arms dumps and the bomb they made for the Limavady job was built in the union offices then ferried down to Limavady by bus.
One got away, Davey McAlister. He got across the border, stay in Bray south of Dublin for a few months before PIRA shipped him off to the states.
Devasted doesn’t even cover it. The bit about the golf club chilled me to the bone.
But, as in The Reluctant Fundamentalist the charcteristics of being weak, insecure, easily led and wanting vaildation appear current and real.
But at the end of the day sometimes you just have to say that people chose a path freely and in so doing are killing their own sense of humanity. By crushing any feelings of revulsion these people are doing the opposite of that great Talmudic saying;
“If any man saves a single life, it is like he saved the entire world”.