Self-published student writes fictional e-book on Bangladeshi culture

Karim pictured explaining his book,
Fahim Karim, wirter of "The Great Bangladesh Romantic Comedy," sits in an interview with The Sundial on April 2017. Photo Credit: Abraham Ortega

Inspired by the blunt writing style of Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller, along with personal artistic aspirations, Fahim Karim wrote “The Great Bangladesh Romantic Comedy.” A semi-autobiographical story that takes the reader to the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh, where its protagonist experiences thrills ranging from a near death experience to a relationship full of love and frustration.

Karim wrote the short e-book through during spring break of 2017. However, the events that inspired the story occurred in the summer of 2016.

He explained he wanted to break the conservative stigma of romance in eastern culture and make the reader have a perception of Bangladesh through his point of view.

“I wanted to take the reader on a trip, back to my home country,” he said. “Bangladesh is one of those exotic countries you don’t hear about much, so I really wanted to put it on the map.”

The protagonist sets the reader in Shanghai Airport, where he is writing his experiences as he waits for his flight back to the U.S. The story continues with a first date he has with a girl, who remains without a name throughout the story. That date sets off a series of events during his time in Dhaka.

One of the unfortunate events is the experience Karim shared in chapter ten, where he encountered two motorcyclists who almost crashed onto the rickshaw he was in. Since this happened late at night, he thought they could have stolen his belongings or killed him.

“Here in L.A., I feel at home. I can blend in, walk the streets and be myself,” he said. “Back there, you have to watch your back.”

Karim was born in Dhaka and lived there until he was 20 years old. He learned English through school but what helped him the most was watching American cartoons and engaging in literature.

One of the main cultural differences he found when he moved to Los Angeles to continue his college career at CSUN was the diverse group of people he spends his time with.

“[In Bangladesh] you don’t have that there,” Karim said. “[Here] I have friends from all over the place. Instead of talking about our differences, when we hang out we have an intercultural experience and we learn from each other. America gives you freedom to be [yourself] and go up the ladder.”

Karim decided to publish his e-book on Amazon. The process only consisted of a few steps: submitting a manuscript with a cover of the book and wait for final revision from Amazon. After that, users have the ability to watch over product sales which can be helpful to obtain data for marketing purposes.

Young writers like Karim are using electronic outlets to publish their work. Cristie Locsin, a CSUN self-published author, also encouraged writers to self-publish in a past interview with The Sundial. However, the self-publishing world is still a difficult path for writers since public libraries and other major literature contests don’t recognize self-published work and the financial benefits are very minimum.

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Currently, Karim is majoring in Information Systems at CSUN. He first wanted to study acting and move to Bollywood to direct his own films but due to a strict family background, he chose to pursue a career in an engineering field.

However, he remains active in certain clubs on campus, such as the photography club, the speech club, and MISA (management information systems association).

An active member of the photography club and Karim’s close friend, Abraham Ortega, said Karim involves himself as a model for photographers. He’s also been reading the e-book and feels like someone was telling him a story in a conversation.

Karim is also preparing to work on a longer book that will include all of his college experiences.

The Great Bangladesh Romantic Comedy” is now available on Amazon.