2008 Anisfield-Wolf award winner Mohsin Hamid’s groundbreaking work, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, is getting the Hollywood treatment. The story follows a young Pakistani as he grapples with life after 9/11. Starring Riz Ahmed as Changez, the film will also feature Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, and Kiefer Sutherland. Mira Nair (The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding) will direct.
There’s always a murmur when beloved books and characters make the transition to the big screen. Devoted readers will either skip the film altogether or spend a great amount of time picking it apart in comparison to the book. But as The Reluctant Fundamentalist makes its leap into theaters, it’s worth noting that Hamid took it upon himself to create a novel that was especially inviting for readers to create their own vibrant connection to the story. As he wrote earlier this year in a piece for The Guardian:
“I began to wonder if the power of the novel, if its distinctive feature among contemporary mass-storytelling forms, was rooted in the enormous degree of co-creation it requires on the part of its audience. (After all, when you watch a film or TV show, what you see looks like what it represents; when you read a novel, what you see is black ink on pulped wood, and it is you who projects scenes on to the screen of your imagination.)
If the novel was special because it allowed writers and readers to create jointly, to dance together, then it seemed to me that I should try to write novels that maximized this possibility of opening themselves up to being read in different ways, to involving the reader as a kind of character, indeed as a kind of co-writer.”
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is due to hit theaters in 2013.