Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

"Death Can Do Us the One Service of Treating Others Better"

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

"Death Can Do Us the One Service of Treating Others Better"

Article excerpt

Mohsin Hamid was born in 1971 in Lahore, Pakistan, and spent much of his youth in the US. He has published four novels: his most recent, "ExitWest", was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker prize.

What's your earliest memory?

I was almost three, giving a speech on the dining room table, saying things I'd heard a Pakistani politician say on TV: "When I am prime minister ..." My mother laughed and chased me, I ran into thin air, fell, split my head, and wound up with stitches. It was an early lesson in the perils of free speech.

Who is your hero?

My dad. We played and hung out constantly. He does the same now with my kids. A gentle man, which requires such strength in a world that encourages men to be driven and aggressive.

Which political figure, past or present, do you look up to?

Nelson Mandela. He reminded us of our capacity to be radically optimistic and also of the power such a position can confer upon us.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

JRR Tolkien.

In which time and place, other than your own, would you like to live?

At this moment, now that you ask, I'm feeling torn between Andalucia circa 1200 and TRAPPIST-if in the year 2471.

Which TV show could you not live without?

I find myself fiending for the final and sadly still-distant season of Game of Thrones.

Who would paint your portrait?

Shahzia Sikander. She's an old friend; I've admired her work for decades. She might not want to paint these days and prefer to tackle a portrait as a video installation or anime, and that would be just fine with me. …

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