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The Reluctant Fundamentalist [Anglais] [Relié]

Mohsin Hamid
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Description de l'ouvrage

1 mars 2007
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is the award-winning international bestseller by Mohsin Hamid.NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING KATE HUDSON AND KIEFER SUTHERLANDSHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2007'Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard. I am a lover of America . . . 'So speaks the mysterious stranger at a Lahore cafe as dusk settles. Invited to join him for tea, you learn his name and what led this speaker of immaculate English to seek you out. For her is more worldy than you might expect; better travelled and better educated. He knows the West better than you do. And as he tells you his story, of how he embraced the Western dream -- and a Western woman -- and how both betrayed him, so the night darkens. Then the true reason for your meeting becomes abundantly clear . . .Praise for The Reluctant Fundamentalist: 'Beautifully written . . . more exciting than any thriller I've read for a long time' Philip Pullman'Admirably spare and amazingly exciting' Rachel Cooke, New Statesman'Sharp, relevant, impressively intelligent . . . entertains at the same time as it makes you think' Daily Telegraph'A cleverly constructed fable of infatuation and disenchantment . . . Intelligent and highly engaging, genuinely provocative' Guardian'A brilliant book' Kiran Desai'Prods the intellect, quickens the pace and captures the imagination' Sunday TimesMohsin Hamid is the author of three novels: The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Moth Smoke and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. His fiction has been translated into over 30 languages, received numerous awards, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has contributed essays and short stories to publications such as the Guardian, The New York Times, Financial Times, Granta, and Paris Review. Born and mostly raised in Lahore, he spent part of his childhood in California, studied at Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and has since lived between Lahore, London, and New York.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Extrait

Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my beard: I am a lover of America. I noticed that you were looking for something; more than looking, in fact you seemed to be on a mission, and since I am both a native of this city and a speaker of your language, I thought I might offer you my services.

How did I know you were American? No, not by the color of your skin; we have a range of complexions in this country, and yours occurs often among the people of our northwest frontier. Nor was it your dress that gave you away; a European tourist could as easily have purchased in Des Moines your suit, with its single vent, and your button­down shirt. True, your hair, short­cropped, and your expansive chest – the chest, I would say, of a man who bench­presses regularly, and maxes out well above two­twenty­five – are typical of a certain type of American; but then again, sportsmen and soldiers of all nationalities tend to look alike. Instead, it was your bearing that allowed me to identify you, and I do not mean that as an insult, for I see your face has hardened, but merely as an observation.

Come, tell me, what were you looking for? Surely, at this time of day, only one thing could have brought you to the district of Old Anarkali – named, as you may be aware, after a courtesan immured for loving a prince – and that is the quest for the perfect cup of tea. Have I guessed correctly? Then allow me, sir, to suggest my favorite among these many establishments. Yes, this is the one. Its metal chairs are no better upholstered, its wooden tables are equally rough, and it is, like the others, open to the sky. But the quality of its tea, I assure you, is unparalleled.

You prefer that seat, with your back so close to the wall? Very well, although you will benefit less from the intermittent breeze, which, when it does blow, makes these warm afternoons more pleasant. And will you not remove your jacket? So formal! Now that is not typical of Americans, at least not in my experience. And my experience is substantial: I spent four and a half years in your country. Where? I worked in New York, and before that attended college in New Jersey. Yes, you are right: it was Princeton! Quite a guess, I must say.

What did I think of Princeton? Well, the answer to that question requires a story. When I first arrived, I looked around me at the Gothic buildings – younger, I later learned, than many of the mosques of this city, but made through acid treatment and ingenious stonemasonry to look older – and thought, This is a dream come true. Princeton inspired in me the feeling that my life was a film in which I was the star and everything was possible. I have access to this beautiful campus, I thought, to professors who are titans in their fields and fellow students who are philosopher­kings in the making.

I was, I must admit, overly generous in my initial assumptions about the standard of the student body. They were almost all intelligent, and many were brilliant, but whereas I was one of only two Pakistanis in my entering class – two from a population of over a hundred million souls, mind you – the Americans faced much less daunting odds in the selection process. A thousand of your compatriots were enrolled, five hundred times as many, even though your country’s population was only twice that of mine. As a result, the non­Americans among us tended on average to do better than the Americans, and in my case I reached my senior year without having received a single B.

Looking back now, I see the power of that system, pragmatic and effective, like so much else in America. We international students were sourced from around the globe, sifted not only by well­honed standardized tests but by painstakingly customized evaluations – interviews, essays, recommendations – until the best and the brightest of us had been identified. I myself had among the top exam results in Pakistan and was besides a soccer player good enough to compete on the varsity team, which I did until I damaged my knee in my sophomore year. Students like me were given visas and scholarships, complete financial aid, mind you, and invited into the ranks of the meritocracy. In return, we were expected to contribute our talents to your society, the society we were joining. And for the most part, we were happy to do so. I certainly was, at least at first.

Every fall, Princeton raised her skirt for the corporate recruiters who came onto campus and – as you say in America – showed them some skin. The skin Princeton showed was good skin, of course – young, eloquent, and clever as can be – but even among all that skin, I knew in my senior year that I was something special. I was a perfect breast, if you will – tan, succulent, seemingly defiant of gravity – and I was confident of getting any job I wanted.

Except one: Underwood Samson & Company. You have not heard of them? They were a valuation firm. They told their clients how much businesses were worth, and they did so, it was said, with a precision that was uncanny. They were small – a boutique, really, employing a bare minimum of people – and they paid well, offering the fresh graduate a base salary of over eighty thousand dollars. But more importantly, they gave one a robust set of skills and an exalted brand name, so exalted, in fact, that after two or three years there as an analyst, one was virtually guaranteed admission to Harvard Business School. Because of this, over a hundred members of the Princeton Class of 2001 sent their grades and résumés to Underwood Samson. Eight were selected – not for jobs, I should make clear, but for interviews – and one of them was me.


From the Hardcover edition. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Revue de presse

PRAISE FOR MOTH SMOKE



"A rare glimpse into modern-day Pakistan . . . The voices that emerge are sarcastic and sad, a lively lament . . . reminiscent of V. S. Naipaul and Salman Rushdie."? CHICAGO TRIBUNE



"Stunning . . . [Hamid] has created a hip page-turner about the mysterious country that both created the sophisticated Benazir Bhutto and hanged her father."? LOS ANGELES TIMES
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 192 pages
  • Editeur : Hamish Hamilton Ltd; Édition : First Edition First Printing (1 mars 2007)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0241143659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241143650
  • Dimensions du produit: 21,6 x 14 x 2,2 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 1.124.952 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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EXCUSE ME, SIR, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I have alarmed you. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent book 21 mars 2014
Par Bb9
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Beautiful writing ! The main character literally attracts you into his mind-set like a magnet, the plot is simple yet powerful.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Well written, suspenseful 2 février 2013
Par Venetia
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
A very clever, knowledgeable book, a believable thriller. But not only, because it addresses the issue of how educated young people can become extremists, as well as the cultural differences that we tend to underestimate. The end however left me hanging. I'm not quite sure what happened.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5  439 commentaires
254 internautes sur 270 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Fears, Anxieties, and Crucial Choices 27 juillet 2007
Par Allan Wilford Howerton, WW II Era Author. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
In a recent article in The Washington Post" (7.22.07) titled "ROOTS OF RAGE: "Why Do They Hate Us?", Mohsin Hamid writes about an encounter at a book signing in Texas for "The Reluctant Fundamentalist." He was stopped cold when a man asked the subtitle question in a politely pleasant manner that put both author and reader in the "us" category. Hamid notes that he had spent almost half his life in the United States: emigrating from Lahore, Pakistan at the age of three with his father (who was accepted to a PhD program at Stanford), learning to sing "The Star Spangled Banner" before the Pakistan national anthem, playing baseball before cricket, writing English before Urdu, and other activities of a typical American kid. The question cut to the quick because in many ways he is, or it seems should be, one of us.

The Post piece goes on to lay out an autobiography which in considerable part became the plot of "The Reluctant Fundamentalist." Hamid returned to Lahore at the age of nine, growing up there pleasurably before the city was adversely impacted economically and culturally (strict morality codes, intimidation of politicians, academics, and journalists) by American backing of Pakistan's dictator Mohammed Zia ul-Haq in exchange for Zia's support of the mujaheddin, the Afghan guerrilla group fighting the Russian occupation which later became an American holy war adversary. Like the character Changez in the novel, he returned to the United States to attend Princeton University.

How much of the remainder of the book (Changez's outstanding performance in a business evaluation firm prior to being fired in debilitating disenchantment when he recognized the havoc his work was causing in the global workplace, the American girlfriend who ultimately fails him, et cetera) is unknown. But there is enough to support the notion that fiction, well written, can often articulate more basic truth than nonfiction. And "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" is brilliantly and beautifully written. There is no action (no bombs, no bullets, no noisy chaos) but there is suspense, gripping suspense (the feeling that something rather awful may happen at any moment), as Changez spends an evening over dinner telling his story to an American at a restaurant at a disquieting Lahore market. We never know the American's name or anything about him (whether businessman, tourist,, government agent)) except for his excruciating fear in the exotic foreign setting in which he finds himself. All this is conveyed through the narrative voice of Changez interpreting the American's reaction as the story unfolds.

The unnamed American is a stand-in, the nervous visitor in a strange foreign land, for all of us as we ponder the ghosts and goblins of the war on terror. Uneasy and watchful in that eerie marketplace, he could be any one of us anywhere. The girl with whom Changez falls in love is also, in a sense, a prototype for an America that cannot give up the memory of a dead lover (our nostalgia for the innocent security of a time that is past) and accept Changez for what he is: a smart, well-educated, if culturally different, Muslim foreigner who longs for acceptance.

In the Post article, Hamid answers the question of why they hate us as part envy and part reaction to American foreign policy. But his answer is less convincing that the one he offers to a reverse question, Why Do They Love Us?: "People abroad admire Americans not because they back foreign dictators but because they believe that all men and all women are created equal. That concept does not stop at the borders of the United States. . . .

"The challenge that the United States faces today boils down to a choice. It can insist on its primacy as a superpower, or it can accept the primacy of its values. If it chooses the former, it will heighten the resentment of foreigners and increase the likelihood of visiting disasters upon distant populations -- and vice versa. If it chooses the latter, it will discover something it appears to have forgotten: that the world is full of potential allies."

Readers of "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" will experience, at least for a few hours, some of the feelings of others across the world who are observing our fears and anxieties as we weigh the crucial choices which lie ahead. It could be time well spent.
111 internautes sur 119 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An incisive treatise on the mind of the "reluctant fundamentalist" 11 juillet 2007
Par Sheetal Bahl - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
By now, you what the book is about. And you've heard the disagreements - fundamentalist, not so; controversial, innocuous; hate mail, balanced viewpoint; etc., etc. It seems like there is little left to say. But let me try and present some different perspectives on the book - things I see less talked about but which I believe are crucial to its understanding, interpretation, and appreciation.

So, let me start by stating the two key themes I am not going to be discussing: the sort of "coming-of-age" and maturing of an individual as a consequence of the social and political events around him, and the analysis of the transition that a society goes through as exemplified by the impact of some dramatic events on an individual or a family. I think both these themes are played out in this book, and played out very well like almost everything else in it, but they are still secondary themes. The real objective of the book I believe is to showcase the entire generation of "reluctant fundamentalists" that have spawned among Generations X&Y across the globe (primarily as a result of the huge economic disparities between the developed and developing nations, but that's an altogether separate debate and something I won't go into further here). These fundamentalists are not born so, they are not trained to be so, they often feel ashamed to be so, and are quintessentially not so, but nonetheless, when cornered, they become so as a natural outcome of some primal human behavioural traits like love for one's own and protecting of one's territory. These are the circumstantial fundamentalists. Changez is just one such man, and the dichotomy playing out in the minds of these reluctant fundamentalists is demonstrated in an excellent fashion through his actions in this book. Till he is cornered (metaphorically, when 9/11 takes place), he displays no fundamentalist tendencies. But once he is, some primal emotions surface. Thereafter, he and those around him get into a vicious cycle, as a result of which he keeps getting pushed back more and more, and like most people, does not know how to respond except by becoming defensive, by retreating into familiar territory, and sometimes by lashing out in unjustifiable ways. Does he regret some of his reactions - absolutely, for he knows that some of them represent something inhumane and cannot be justified by any measures of morality. And that is the dilemma of the reluctant fundamentalist - the battle between the greater good and the smaller but more personal concerns. That is the dilemma every one of us is likely to face at some point in our life - protecting what is near and dear to us, or protecting what is right. That is the dilemma that Mohsin Hamid is trying to lay bare, and I think he does it fantastically.

There are two other aspects of the book which I'd like to briefly touch upon: the very interesting relationship between Changez and Erica, and also Erica's downward mental spiral. These are not key themes in the book, and to be honest, I don't believe are essential to the narrative of the book, but are still very well detailed and beautiful sub-stories in themselves which could have become good fodder for another book. These stories are really Erica's, as she gradually, not suddenly, loses her ability to deal with her dead lover, and how that loss affects her present relationships, especially with Changez. I thought this narrative was startling and beautiful, despite its inevitable tragic end.

In conclusion, I'd like to strongly recommend this book to all those readers who are trying to get some incisive and powerful insight into the minds of the quasi-fundamentalist behaviour being shown by many today. This book is not going to solve the culture-, religion-, or class-based clashes in the world today, but if it can help even a few people understand each other better, which I believe it will be able to, then it's a very worthwhile addition to the annals of literature.
67 internautes sur 73 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Reluctant Of All the Fundamentals 12 août 2007
Par Caesar M. Warrington - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Rarely will I describe a book as beautiful. Yet I cannot think of a more befitting descriptive for Mohsin Hamid's THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST.

The story centers around a meeting at an outdoor café in Lahore between a Pakistani man named Changez and a suspicious-looking American with the bearing that makes him out to be either military or intelligence agent. Changez engages the man initially in tea and conversation. After awhile, seeing the American most attentive --and also a bit wary of his surroundings, the Pakistani orders dinner for the two of them; meanwhile going deeper into his memories about times spent in America, as a student at Princeton and later as a rising star at a New York valuation firm. Changez also recollects his budding romance with Erica, the daughter of a wealthy investment banker who was sure to enable Changez's entry to high society. Changez was well on his way to success when the twin towers of the World Trade Center came tumbling down on September 11, 2001.

Changez's reaction to their collapse alarms and confuses him; he finds himself smiling and overjoyed. The elation, however, isn't over the deaths of 3,000 innocent people, but rather thet there are those who are able to strike at the United States --an entity which has long held him in awe with its almost limitless power, wealth and ability to affect the world: sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst. As America becomes enraged and seeks revenge upon anything and anyone Muslim, he reads reports of Pakistan becoming coerced into the war against Afghanistan and of India taking advantage of this situation threatening his homeland. Becoming ever more distanced from our society and his work, it becomes increasingly harder for Changez to continue at his career. A job which he now sees as dependent upon the expense and suffering of others. Making matters worse, Erica, the one person who perhaps could have kept him grounded and focused, suffers a mental relapse over the shock of 9/11. Erica slips back into the debilitating state she suffered over the death of her longtime childhood friend and lover, Chris, two years earlier. Eventually Changez returns to Pakistan. Changez today is a different man from the ambitious and obedient corporate cog he described living back in New York. Yet as he speaks to the American about his country's indifference to the rest of the world, about America's unconcern for the expense her wars of revenge are costing others, he still he cannot hide his love for America. However, it is no longer the romanticizing love of an infatuated innocent, instead it is the love one has for another depite all the other's faults and abuses. A love reluctant, but love nonetheless.

The monologue telling of this story is beguiling. Changez holds the reader spellbound as he keeps the unidentified American man's interest for hours. Mohsin Hamid's gift for words and symbolism, and the intricacies he creates with them, is astounding. Admittedly, some of Changez actions and statements will repel many of us American readers (his gleeful response to the jets slamming into the Twin Towers certainly did it to me). Keep in mind, however, that this is a voice which exists amongst millions of those out there, from Totonto and London, to Pakistan and Indonesia. It is a voice we have been told to ignore, but it still won't go away. That's because it is not only the voice of the popeyed rageboys constantly being shown in our media, but also the voice of men like Changez, who tried making sense of America's dichotomies, but can no longer struggle to reconcile the willful ignorance and arrogant indifference that exists within our nation's beauty and spirit. So, we may call them "fundamentalists," but we must start to recognize that many are reluctant to be such. They have the rageboys, but we have the coldly calculating geopolitical experts, who smile and assure us of our "national interests." Changes must come from all of us.
53 internautes sur 60 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Clever, insightful, entertaining -- faultless prose and construction 14 août 2007
Par B. Case - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
On first glance, "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" by Mohsin Hamid appears to be about a brilliant young Pakistani national named Changez who finishes at the top of his class at Princeton and is hired by Underwood Samson, the most prestigious and world-famous corporate valuation firm based in New York City. We are encouraged by the title and the dark overtones of the dramatic monologue in which the book is narrated, to believe that somehow, by the end of the novel, Changez turns into a Muslim fundamentalist and implied terrorist. Wow, now that is a theme that really hits a bull's-eye with the American psyche!

Most Americans are sincerely confused by what is happening in the world today. We see rampant anti-Americanism, frightening Islamic terrorism, news of successful professionals being recruited into the ranks of the terrorists, and we can't imagine why. We hope to get inside the head of one of these characters and see the world from their point of view--perhaps finally understand what drives them to these drastic ends.

The book delivers on these issues and much more--very clever indeed! The monologue is narrated with spare, well-crafted prose that is often old-fashioned--and disconcerting. The archaic prose casts the story in a shroud of strangeness elevating the suspense and making the whole an unequivocal, unrelenting page-turner.

There is a marvelous linguistic and thematic trick built into that word "fundamentalist" used in the title and the text of the book. In the entire novel, religion is never once mentioned. Fundamentalism, in the context of terrorism, always refers to religious fundamentalism. But this book is not about a budding Muslim fundamentalist. So what type of fundamentalist is this, and why is he reluctant?

This is about a man fighting two inner battles: one moral and one political. In the beginning of his skyrocketing American dream career, Changez is temporarily blinded to one of his most ingrained core moral values: compassion. He comes from a family and a culture where people, no matter how poor, routinely celebrate their greatest joys by giving generously to the poor. When Changez comes home to Pakistan for a brief visit with his family, his mother dances ecstatically twirling a 100-rupee note over her head. What a wonderful image! Now, ask yourself how we in the West celebrate our greatest achievements and joys, and let this, and the other similar nuggets of open, cross-cultural insights peppered throughout this work, ignite your thinking about contemporary world issues!

In the beginning, Changez feels stirrings of compassion for the "soon-to-be-redundant workers" (p. 99) that will, no doubt, fall victim to his brilliantly accurate valuation analyses. Sensing this, Jim, Changez' corporate mentor at Underwood Samson, coaches him often to "focus on the fundamentals"--the bottom line, the numbers, don't let emotion or compassion get in the way. However, by the time the book draws to a close--when Changez is in Valparaiso, Chile helping valuate a troubled book publishing firm that spends too much of its assets publishing worthy academic, literary, and poetic books that eventually end up losing money for the firm--here Changez becomes the reluctant fundamentalist of the book's title. He can no longer focus only on the bottom line. He can no longer ignore the deep core of compassion that is his personal moral compass.

So, does he also become a fundamentalist terrorist? The author leaves that up to you to decide. The ending is deftly and provokingly ambiguous. But no matter which ending you choose to imagine--and you will vacillate--the overall cross-cultural thematic points have already been made, and that is what is important and what endures long after you've finished the book.

There is also the inner political battle that Changez undergoes during the course of the novel. He begins his job at Underwood Samson a few months before 9/11. How he reacts to that news, and how America changes in the wake of that news--both form crucial themes that resonate throughout. In many ways the book is about the dangers of not embracing change. The author and the main character find much fault with America's fundamental backwards-looking reaction after 9/11. Instead of trying to come to terms with how America must fundamentally change in the new post-9/11 world order, Changez sees Americans retreating back to an old-fashioned nostalgia for America, the righteous superpower, the imperialistic dominator of the globe. To Changez, America's self-righteous nostalgia is a terminal illness. To mirror this theme, there is lovely parallel story of Changez' love for the mentally fragile Erica. She fails precisely because she cannot free herself from her nostalgia for her dead former lover. She cannot move forward with her life, despite the fact that the reader can see very clearly that Changez and Erica have the makings of a truly enduring love.

So if America is failing to change, and Erica fails to change, what happens to Changez? He changes (change-ez)! [Is this, too, along with the word "fundamentalist," perhaps another linguistic thematic pun?] We the reader are left to figure out if the main character's change is for the better, or not. Thus the ambiguous ending leaves us wondering.

This novel is so clever! It really makes you think. It entertains with suspense as well as giving you an achingly beautiful love story--and underlying all is much to be learned about the current state of the world.

I recommend this book highly, as I also do one of the other top contenders for the 2007 Booker Prize, namely Ian McEwen's "On Chesil Beach." (I've also reviewed this book here on Amazon.) Personally, I hope Hamid's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" will win. I believe it clearly deserves it.
95 internautes sur 116 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 I wanted to love this book 13 mai 2007
Par booklover - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Changez presents an interesting perspective of life in America in the aftermath of 9/11 but ultimately fails to deliver because ofhis overly superficial treatment of complex issues. He disappoints with some unsupported statements such as that he took secret pleasure in the terrorism that claimed 3,000+ lives but gives the reader no reason, up to that point, why this should have pleased him. Changez experienced a first class university, acceptance by and recognition from his peers, and an enviable professional opportunity. He then expresses outrage at the US "invasion" of Afghanistan without an attempt to connect the dots. He prides himself on his education and his enlightened background but he ignores the presence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, a brutal and oppressive regime that kept women in ignorance, most of the country in abject poverty and provided training grounds for terrorists. I would expect a more nuanced perspective from a Princeton educated observer. Again, his infatuation with Erica was cliche driven - the unattainable golden girl from Park Avenue. This reader failed to feel his passion or the true nature of his involvement.
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