A Hero of Our Time

Naben Ruthnum

Penguin Random House

A Hero of Our Time

Naben Ruthnum

Penguin Random House

For fans of Yellowface and American Fiction, A Hero of Our Time is a vicious takedown of superficial diversity initiatives and tech culture, with a beating heart of broken sincerity that the Toronto Star calls “a powerful, unexpected reading experience.”

Osman Shah is a pitstop on his white colleague Olivia Robinson’s quest for corporate domination at AAP, an edutech startup determined to automate higher education.
Osman, obsessed by Olivia’s ability to successfully disguise ambition and self-interest as collectivist diversity politics, is bent on exposing her. Aided by his colleague turned comrade-in-arms Nena, who loathes and tolerates him in equal measure, Osman delves into Olivia’s twisted past. But at every turn, he’s stymied by his unfailing gift for cruel observation, which he turns with most ferocity on himself, without ever noticing what it is that stops him from connecting to anyone in his past or present. As Osman loses his grip on his family, Nena, and everything he thought was essential to his identity, he confronts an enemy who may simply be too good at her job to be defeated.

A Hero of Our Time cracks the veneer of well-intentioned race conversations in the West, dismantles cheery narratives of progress through tech and “streamlined” education, and exposes the venomous self-congratulation and devouring lust for wealth, power, and property that lurks beneath.

photo of Naben Ruthnum

Naben Ruthnum is a Toronto-based novelist, critic and screenwriter. He is the author of the 2017 book Curry: Eating, Reading, and Race about the ways in which South Asian identity in the West is often received. Ruthnum's fiction has been published in magazines ranging from Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine to Granta, and he is a winner of Canada’s Journey Prize for short fiction.

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