Reading Guide Questions
1. The opening line of Something to Tell You
is: "Secrets are my currency: I deal in them for a living." What is the role of secrecy in this novel? What are we to make of Jamal's profession as a psychiatrist and his own late quest for self-knowledge?
2. How would you characterize Jamal? What challenge lays ahead for Jamal at the start of the novel? What conclusions does Jamal draw about the trajectory of his life? Do these conclusions represent a shift for Jamal? Why or why not?
3. Jamal's relationship with his sister, Miriam, is pivotal throughout the novel. How would you describe their relationship? How accurately does each sibling assess the other's strengths and weaknesses? What does Jamal and Miriam's relationship reveal about their familial dynamics and its impact on both?
4. What does Kureishi mean when he employs the Ibsen quote: "We sail with a corpse in the cargo?" What corpses do Jamal and the other characters carry with them? Does Kureishi offer any means by which they can be freed of their respective corpses? If yes, how? If no, why not?
5. Parental loss abounds in the novel. Identify the types of parental loss the primary characters experience and how each reconciles or fails to reconcile the loss? What do Kureishi's representations of parents and parenting suggest about the nature of this complicated endeavor? Do you agree with his claims? Why or why not?
6. How does the novel aptly