Written as a glossed self-help book, this hilarious and hard-hearted book by Moshin Hamid is both cynical and hopeful; it’s a love story and a cautionary tale, told by a master writer/observer. We follow the ascent of a smart, hard-working boy, who rises from his origins in a dusty village of an unnamed Asian country to become, if not an industrialist of the first order, filthy rich. Horatio Alger it’s not: it is the filthy part of the rich that the book exists to examine: as the boy gets wealthier (and older), he gets more and more entangled in bribery, corruption, violence and greed, losing his connection to family and friends. The headlong, spot-on and amusingly horrifying depictions of growing cities in Asia (I assume Hamid’s model is Pakistan, where he lives) will leave you gasping for breath even as you marvel at the energy on display. This book, which looks deceptively like a slight, 200-page beach read, will stay with you long after the sun sets on our shores—and rises on Asia’s.