Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Frequent Contributor
Jessica
Posts: 968
Registered: ‎09-24-2006
0 Kudos

Chapter 10: Santiago, Chile

When Changez is in Santiago, Chile, for a project, he befriends Juan-Bautista, the head of the publishing company Underwood Samson is there to value. Why are these two men drawn to each other? Why has Changez suddenly become so disinterested in his work? Who were the janissaries? Why do they resonate so much with Changez?


Reply to this message to discuss any of these topics. Or start your own new topic by clicking "New Message."

Note: This discussion refers to topics in Chapter 10. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur after Chapter 10, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!

Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 10: Santiago, Chile


Jessica wrote:

When Changez is in Santiago, Chile, for a project, he befriends Juan-Bautista, the head of the publishing company Underwood Samson is there to value. Why are
these two men drawn to each other? Why has Changez suddenly become so disinterested in his work? Who were the janissaries? Why do they resonate so much with Changez?



Reply to this message to discuss any of these topics. Or start your own new topic by clicking "New Message."

Note: This discussion refers to topics in Chapter 10. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur
after Chapter 10, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!





I finished the book. Changez has decided that his split identity has taken another shift and he wants to return to those things familiar..he does not want to be one of the janissaries (working like an indentured servant). He chooses his fate and gives in. His uncle had written about them and maybe the familiar tie strikes a cord..who knows. Changez is in a melt down and I think Juan-Bautista capitalizes on this. Maybe Juan sees a kindred spirit one unlike the others or maybe he sees weakness or more likely vulnerability and a way to bring Underwood to their knees with a failed initiative and project.

Changez is very embittered by the end and I still do not see the love song to America. I waited patiently to the end. Changez still longs for Erica but she and his American dream are both dead; just like her beloved Chris...maybe all of them are like the fireflies competing with the large skyscrapers (can't win so their light and fire go out). I think the reader hopes they all made it; but we all have our doubts.

In the prologue of Moth Smoke, there is the following quote:

When the uncertain future becomes the past, the past in turn becomes uncertain

And perhaps for the whole world this resonates..also from Moth Smoke:

Yesterday, an ordinary man may have been roused from his sleep to sit in judgment at the midnight trial of an empire. Before him, as he blinked dreams from his lashes,sat a prince accused of the greatest of all crimes, a poet and pantheist, a possible future. None present were innocent, save perhaps the judge. And perhaps not even he.

End of Story...good read.
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

Santiago?



Jessica wrote:

When Changez is in Santiago, Chile, for a project.....!





hmmmm... I think it is Valparaiso, no?

ziki
Frequent Contributor
Mariposa
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 10: Santiago, Chile

When Changez is in Santiago, Chile, for a project, he befriends Juan-Bautista, the head of the publishing company Underwood Samson is there to value. Why are these two men drawn to each other? Why has Changez suddenly become so disinterested in his work? Who were the janissaries? Why do they resonate so much with Changez?
_____________________________________________________________________

I think Changez has had multiple awakenings. At Princeton, he saw himself as apart from the other students there because of his nationality,lack of financial resources and his value system. He continues to peel away layers of what he eventually sees as dishonesty to himself. He begins to feel that he sold his soul to the American corporate world.

He hears what Juan-Bautista is saying, because at that point, he has become ready to hear him. Although Changez suddenly becomes disinterested in his work, his withdrawal from the American dream has not happened suddenly. It has been a slow process. It becomes increasingly difficult to be true to himself as a Pakistani and work for Underwood Samson. As time passes, he sees how conflicted he truly is. Juan-Bautista sees signs of that conflict and befriends Changez in an attempt to make the situation clear enough for Changez to fully understand what is happening to him.

Going to other Third World countries enables Changez to repossess himself.

The problem of the immigrant in the US is huge. It is not just a question of loyalty to one country or another, it is also a question of accepting the culture and traditions of a new country when the new country's way of doing things is so counter to what the person has learned previously. Am I an American or a Pakistani? How can someone be both when the two countries are so different. To accept being an American, to allow oneself to be homogenized and be grateful for all the opportunities, is also to deny the politics, the values inherent in being a Pakistani. It is to deny one's family, one's roots. I don't know how an immigrant can be fully integrated into the American society without giving up their country of birth. And how can anyone do that? For the money? For the higher standard of living? Isn't that a kind of selling out? I think that is what Changez began to understand in Chile.


Lizabeth
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 10: Santiago, Chile


dianearbus wrote:
When Changez is in Santiago, Chile, for a project, he befriends Juan-Bautista, the head of the publishing company Underwood Samson is there to value. Why are these two men drawn to each other? Why has Changez suddenly become so disinterested in his work? Who were the janissaries? Why do they resonate so much with Changez?
_____________________________________________________________________

I think Changez has had multiple awakenings. At Princeton, he saw himself as apart from the other students there because of his nationality,lack of financial resources and his value system. He continues to peel away layers of what he eventually sees as dishonesty to himself. He begins to feel that he sold his soul to the American corporate world.

He hears what Juan-Bautista is saying, because at that point, he has become ready to hear him. Although Changez suddenly becomes disinterested in his work, his withdrawal from the American dream has not happened suddenly. It has been a slow process. It becomes increasingly difficult to be true to himself as a Pakistani and work for Underwood Samson. As time passes, he sees how conflicted he truly is. Juan-Bautista sees signs of that conflict and befriends Changez in an attempt to make the situation clear enough for Changez to fully understand what is happening to him.

Going to other Third World countries enables Changez to repossess himself.

The problem of the immigrant in the US is huge. It is not just a question of loyalty to one country or another, it is also a question of accepting the culture and traditions of a new country when the new country's way of doing things is so counter to what the person has learned previously. Am I an American or a Pakistani? How can someone be both when the two countries are so different. To accept being an American, to allow oneself to be homogenized and be grateful for all the opportunities, is also to deny the politics, the values inherent in being a Pakistani. It is to deny one's family, one's roots. I don't know how an immigrant can be fully integrated into the American society without giving up their country of birth. And how can anyone do that? For the money? For the higher standard of living? Isn't that a kind of selling out? I think that is what Changez began to understand in Chile.


Lizabeth




Hello Lizabeth,

I am not sure how Pakistani's feel but in the case of my ancestors they felt like so many others before them felt that America was a wonderful opportunity for a new life and a breath of fresh air. They embraced the new country and maintained certain cultural rituals and food, etc. but loved America for the chance to become part of a new society and a new beginning and to have more than they had before. They had to renounce allegiance to their other country and did so gladly.

For the folks with dual citizenship, who have never had to do that, I often wonder where their loyalties lie. And if a religion is paramount to your country of origin or your new location, I wonder how that can ever be. You have to deny your past to be able I think to move forward with your present otherwise you have as in most things conflicted loyalties which cannot be resolved. Something's gotta give. I do not think it is selling out at all; it is about making a clear and decisive choice and living with that choice. You decide how and where you want to live the one life you have.

Our ancestors did it gladly and I am for one glad they did. It must have been difficult and scary for them as well.

Regards,

Bentley
Frequent Contributor
x-tempo
Posts: 102
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 10: Santiago, Chile

[ Edited ]
Changez is not a US citizen, he's in the US on a student visa, and therefore any conception of Americanism expected of immigrants wishing to become citizens would not apply to him. He's more like Ashoke Ganguli, the professor-patriarch in Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake (who's in the country on an occupational preference quota) than Biju, the restaurant worker in Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss. So it seems a little odd that the narrator describes Princeton's international students as "expected to contribute [their] talents to [our] society, the society [they] were joining." I was not aware that international students at Ivy League colleges were expected to become productive members of OUR society, but maybe I was mistaken.

Changez's great grandfather was a barrister who endowed a school for the Muslims of Punjab, and like Changez's grandfather and father, he attended university in England. This is very similar to the judge in Kiran Desai's novel who is educated in England and then returns to India to take his place in his own culture as a representative of the Empire (before partition in 1948). He also returns with all kinds of colonial psychoses which make him unable to relate to his wife in a way that's very dark by comparison to the relationship between Chanu and Nazneen in Brick Lane by Monica Ali.

The janissaries were not just indentured servants, they were cultural traitors who "fought to erase their own civilization," so the metaphor seems to be a non-racist way of expressing this condition, since similar terms like Uncle Tom and mimic man seem very race-bound and white normative by comparison.

Chile is where his "inflective" or inward-bending "journey" begins, and I think it's because of the literary connection he makes with Juan-Batista, who researches Changez's father's uncle who was a poet.

It's here that he takes "the blinders" off regarding the work of his firm, whose "valuation" of the publishing house would surely destroy its literary division.

Underwood Samson seems a lot like the corporate raiders in the movie Wall Street, and although they're not working outside the law or involved in insider trading and leveraged buyouts, their work determines the fate of the companies they assess.

With each of the three clients Changez is involved with, the artistic ante is upped: first it's a cable provider, then it's a recorded-music business, and finally it's the literary trade division of a book publisher.

Message Edited by x-tempo on 05-07-200707:20 PM

Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 10: Santiago, Chile



x-tempo wrote:
Changez is not a US citizen, he's in the US on a student visa, and therefore any conception of Americanism expected of immigrants wishing to become citizens would not apply to him. He's more like Ashoke Ganguli, the professor-matriarch in Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake (who's in the country on an occupational preference quota) than Biju, the restaurant worker in Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss. So it seems a little odd that the narrator describes Princeton's international students as "expected to contribute [their] talents to [our] society, the society [they] were joining." I was not aware that international students at Ivy League colleges were expected to become productive members of OUR society, but maybe I was mistaken.

Changez's great grandfather was a barrister who endowed a school for the Muslims of Punjab, and like Changez's grandfather and father, he attended university in England. This is very similar to the judge in Kiran Desai's novel who is educated in England and then returns to India to take his place in his own culture as a representative of the Empire (before partition in 1948). He also returns with all kinds of colonial psychoses which make him unable to relate to his wife in a way that's very dark by comparison to the relationship between Chanu and Nazneen in Brick Lane by Monica Ali.

The janissaries were not just indentured servants, they were cultural traitors who "fought to erase their own civilization," so the metaphor seems to be a non-racist way of expressing this condition, since similar terms like Uncle Tom and mimic man seem very race-bound and white normative by comparison.

Chile is where his "inflective" or inward-bending "journey" begins, and I think it's because of the literary connection he makes with Juan-Batista, who researches Changez's father's uncle who was a poet.

It's here that he takes "the blinders" off regarding the work of his firm, whose "valuation" of the publishing house would surely destroy its literary division.

Underwood Samson seems a lot like the corporate raiders in the movie Wall Street, and although they're not working outside the law or involved in insider trading and leveraged buyouts, their work determines the fate of the companies they assess.

With each of the three clients Changez is involved with, the artistic ante is upped: first it's a cable provider, then it's a recorded-music business, and finally it's the literary trade division of a book publisher.




True Changez was not an American citizen..but he could have been more than likely if he decided to (as long as he had his job, I am sure that he could have followed that path eventually). Possibly there were certain expectations for those on financial aid..maybe a question to ask Mohsin.

Yes, janissaries were much more than I stated...and for the most part..I think Underwood Samson was more than likely McKinsey or someone very much like them. Yes to a lot of your points but Changez took the job and was smart enough to know what they did. Definitely not an innocent.
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 3,107
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
0 Kudos

apart

The book is also a study in being an outsider.

When Ch. comes as a student he joins a new culture in an age when he needs to seek his identity as an adult. He needs to build up a life for himself, he needs to separate from his family. At the same time everything he encounters in US pulls him back to his roots and family; no wonder that he is torn. He is constantly reminded about where he comes from. It is bound to create problems for him. He needs to construct himself but instead he becomes deconstructed by life, and that against his own (conscious) will.

He comes from a poor country and to see the 'senseless abundance' is a kind of shock to him. His approach is a reaction to the shock: he'll be part of it, he gets his share....but such air bubble usually blows out straight into one's face. Even if he came from a once rich family he was not used to being rich. certain doors will remain closed to him and he knows it far too well.

As an outsider you easily land low on the scale. Some facts you can't hide/fight (i.e. your overall looks, the color of your skin (although Michael Jackson did. LOL).

You can have all diplomas from all IL Universities and you will still not get the best seat in the "right kind" of restaurant. The racial issue is alive, admit it or not.

Inherently Ch. must have felt that whatever he will do, it will not be enough inspite of being at the top-job-point. As in immigrant on a work visa he can't just 'be' American. The pressure is doubble. He has no background in USA, he exists in a social vacuum. After (and already during) his return from Manila this becomes very obvious to him and he starts to react which brings about his 'us-end'. Where is his "us" ? Where does he belong? That question is complex. It's not about where he wants to be it s also about whre he can be.

ziki
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 10: Santiago, Chile

[ Edited ]
Folks always have choices and all choices and decisions have their consequences. Changez had more wonderful opportunities than most American citizens. He went to an Ivy League school and landed an absolutely desired job in a desired firm. Maybe it is not everyone's cup of tea but these opportunities would be coveted by many Americans.

I do not feel sorry for Changez by the end of the novel. He made his bed, let him lie in it. He fitted in and that is why he got the opportunities he did as well as because of his qualities and brilliance. I don't buy that he could not have lasted or dealt with the insecurities after 9/11. A lot of people did and they are fine now and/or the very least a whole lot better. He could have done his job and not betrayed his friend Jim. He did stick it to Underwood and frankly I did not think that Underwood did anything to him; they should have fired him a long time ago.

There is discrimination everywhere in the world; it is not just here. And though I do not condone it, it is something that all of us come across every day. Juan used Changez and being young and going through a meltdown, Changez was vulnerable. But all that happened for Juan was that it delayed the inevitable. He was going too.

I doubt that there is anyone who likes what has happened to American corporations and their state side jobs either. There is of course a lot wrong everywhere...but Changez should not be pitied. He decided and he got the life he chose and even the end of matters for him was also his decision. The reader can wish many things but they cannot make the characters do the right things by themselves or for others. Changez also had to change a lot to fit back into Pakistan and that wasn't easy either. Another decision which did not bode well for his health and well being considering what he chose to do and how he chose to do it. Poor choices for a long life.

Message Edited by bentley on 05-08-200710:05 AM

Frequent Contributor
x-tempo
Posts: 102
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 10: Santiago, Chile

bentley writes: Yes to a lot of your points but Changez took the job and was smart enough to know what they did. Definitely not an innocent.

................

I don't agree. The character has a major realization after which he's not able to look at the world in the same way or act in the same way. The character is completely believable in the context of this novel.

You say that the character knew what kind of work the company was involved before he was hired. But that overlooks the fact that the turning point, the attack on the World Trade Center, was completely unexpected, and that's the event on which all subsequent action hinges.
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 10: Santiago, Chile

[ Edited ]

x-tempo wrote:
bentley writes: Yes to a lot of your points but Changez took the job and was smart enough to know what they did. Definitely not an innocent.

................

I don't agree. The character has a major realization after which he's not able to look at the world in the same way or act in the same way. The character is completely believable in the context of this novel.

You say that the character knew what kind of work the company was involved before he was hired. But that overlooks the fact that the turning point, the attack on the World Trade Center, was completely unexpected, and that's the event on which all subsequent action hinges.




With great respect for your viewpoints xtempo..I still as you might have suspected believe that an ivy school grad with a great point average knows all about the plum job and what they do. None of us look at the world the same way after 9/11..we look at Al Qaida, Middle Eastern populations and Muslims differently and with some reason and a lot of trepidation built on fear.

We also know and believe with all of our hearts that there are many good Muslims, many good and wonderful peoples tainted by the actions of the few.

However, having said that I don't buy how unhinged Changez became and how he smiled at the agony and the pain suffered by the 9/11 victims. Just don't..he was never an innocent or uninformed. I feel very bad about the embarrassment that he went through with the profiling and I really feel his pain. But there is just no "wiggle room" with what has happened and continues to go on. In New Jersey today, they uncovered a plot to terrorize soldiers at Fort Dix and other locations...so this kind of behavior is not going away. Unfortunately profiling seems to fit the bill here as well...not a one was a white 64 year old Christian grandmother. I am sure that Muslims cringe when they hear of a new uncovered plot and figure maybe rightly so that it increases the suspicion of their populations. I guess it does. It is a very sad world that we find ourselves in. I often wonder why so many in these populations support ones which cause some havoc in the world. And I can only surmise like the smile of Changez that at some level they are for them. That means that if we are being singled out in a faceless way just because we are Americans then we must protect ourselves and our children.

I also have to say that I found parts of the novel not that believable. It is funny how shallow was the portrayal of the pain and the suffering caused by 9/11 and how pathetic was Changez's level of emotion towards the victims and their families for doing nothing wrong except to go to work. Maybe I didn't like Changez since his smile at that event and I am not embarrassed to say that. However, I live in a country which thankfully allows folks to listen and read other viewpoints and I think this book presented another viewpoint. I listened, I read it with interest and I sifted through what I could believe and what I could not. I also do not agree with Changez's view of America and Americans and my country. I also respect the author and his love for his country and the artistic merit of the novel. It was a good read; I just didn't buy it. I did buy the book because I was interested in listening and trying to understand. But all I heard was what was wrong..not many solutions if any..just a litany of complaints. I know that everyone wants a better life for themselves and our global policies certainly can be improved (I wholeheartedly agree with that) but just because we are larger or richer or whatever..it doesn't give folks the right to try to exterminate us. I also agree that 9/11 did change everything. And there are many things since 9/11 that I do not agree with either nor do most Americans (you just have to look at the last election).

I am sorry that I can't be more sympathetic but I thought it was more a diatribe by one character without giving the American a voice. This was purposely done and I can understand why. I still felt that the book was a very worthwhile read and it lets America know where it stands.

Message Edited by bentley on 05-08-200708:30 PM

Message Edited by bentley on 05-08-200708:34 PM

Users Online
Currently online: 41 members 672 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: