Obama lists Pakistani author’s book among his best of 2017

Mohsin Hamid’s ‘Exit West’ has been praised by critics and book-lovers alike.
Updated 09 January 2018
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Obama lists Pakistani author’s book among his best of 2017

LAHORE: Former US President Barack Obama has made a point of ending each year by releasing a list of the books and songs that he most enjoyed over the past year and 2017’s list included a novel by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid.
“During my presidency, I started a tradition of sharing my reading lists and playlists,” Obama wrote on Facebook at the end of the year. “It was a nice way to reflect on the works that resonated with me and lift up authors and artists from around the world. With some extra time on my hands this year to catch up, I wanted to share the books and music that I enjoyed most.”
Hamid’s “Exit West,” a novel that was published in 2017 and deals with emigration and refugee life, made the most recent list. The author’s previous books include “Moth Smoke,” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” and “How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.”
The novel, which is part fantasy, follows the journey of a young couple in an unnamed city who seek to escape the civil war raging around them through a series of mysterious doors that take them further and further away.
Hamid’s book has been praised by critics and book-lovers alike — it made it on to Time magazine’s top ten novels of 2017 list and was also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The book’s film rights have been purchased by American film making team the Russo Brothers, so fans can expect a feature-length film based on the story in the future.
Obama’s list includes a diverse range of female authors and other international writers, including Jesmyn Wards “Sing, Unburied, Sing” and “The Power” by Naomi Alderman.


What We Are Reading Today: Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

Updated 20 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

  • Lake Success flies through a lot of topics: Wealth, status, parenthood, lost relationships, autism, America, etc.
  • I think it’s ultimately a book about time, and how it only moves in one direction, forward, says on a reviewer

Lake Success is the story of a clueless hedge fund multi-millionaire who self-destructs his family and hits the road on a Greyhound bus to see America and try to recover his college days. 

Lake Success flies through a lot of topics: Wealth, status, parenthood, lost relationships, autism, America, etc. 

It tracks the mid-life crisis of Barry Cohen, a “struggling” hedge fund manager with a crumbling marriage and a severely autistic three-year-old son. 

“I think it’s ultimately a book about time, and how it only moves in one direction, forward. Once the main characters accept the forward motion of their lives, they are truly able to live,” a reviewer commented in goodreads.com. 

The author, Gary Shteyngart, is an American writer born in Leningrad. Much of his work is satirical and relies on the invention of elaborately fictitious yet somehow familiar places and times.

Shteyngart’s first three novels — The Russian Debutante’s Handbook (2002), Absurdistan (2006) and Super Sad True Love Story (2010) — were fundamentally immigrant stories. 

The Russian Debutante’s Handbook received the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award.

Lake Success takes place over the final months of the 2016 campaign, and in the early months of Donald Trump’s presidency.