Friday 26 August 2022

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid BLOG TOUR #TheLastWhiteMan #MohsinHamid @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks @RandomTTours


From the internationally bestselling author of Exit West, a story of love, loss, and rediscovery in a time of unsettling change

One morning, Anders wakes to find that his skin has turned dark, his reflection a stranger to him. At first he tells only Oona, an old friend, newly a lover. Soon, reports of similar occurrences surface across the land. Some see in the transformations the long-dreaded overturning of an established order, to be resisted to a bitter end. In many, like Anders's father and Oona's mother, a sense of profound loss wars with profound love. As the bond between Anders and Oona deepens, change takes on a different shading: a chance to see one another, face to face, anew.

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid was published on 11 August 2022 by Hamish Hamilton. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour. 

Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist was one of those books that left such an impact on me, and I was looking forward to reading his latest, The Last White Man. 

At just under 200 pages in the hardback edition, this is really more of a novella, than a novel. However, it may be small, but it's perfectly formed. Hamid's writing is often sparse, almost distant. He tells the story in an almost matter-of-fact way, but this does not detract from the importance of the themes within it. 

Anders is a pretty ordinary guy, one morning, as he looks in the mirror, he sees that his skin has taken on a darker hue. His emotions range from shock, horror, fear and despair. At first Anders tries to hide himself away, but needs must and he has to visit his local shop. He's well known to the shopkeeper, but his darker skin renders him invisible, and unrecognisable. No warm greetings as usual, just a perfunctory visit that reinforces Anders' assumptions that his life has changed forever. 

Anders decides to tell Oona, friend who has recently become his lover, Oona is also shocked, but supportive, and then it transpires that this happening to lots of people.

There are some scenes in Anders' story that are quite brutal, not physical violence, the words spoken to him by people he had admired and respected are shocking, and hurtful and say so much about the world that we live in.

This is an absorbing read that throws up so many questions, not least from the viewpoint of Oona's mother, who was my favourite character; a woman formed by her beliefs and her conspiracy theories, but also a woman who will be familiar to so many of us. 

With a touch of magical realism, and a lot of power, this is a novel that deserves to be read more than once, to be savoured and to be discussed. 

Mohsin Hamid writes regularly for The New York Times, the Guardian and the New York Review of Books, and is the author of Exit West, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Moth Smoke, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia and Discontent and its Civilizations. 

Born and mostly raised in Lahore, he has since lived between Lahore, London and New York.

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