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One of the reviews, by Philip Pullman, at the beginning of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, calls the novel a thriller. I found the comment interesting, because it probably  would have been the last thing I would have called the novel. Throughout the novel, Changez frequently calls attention to his guest’s gun holster, and at the end of the novel, believes that the “glint of metal” is just from his guest’s business card holder (184). Thrillers usually build towards a dramatic climax, and I feel like this novel never builds towards anything, except at the very end. The novel proceeds at a very moderate pace the entire time. While the stranger seems a bit uneasy throughout the novel, he never displays open dislike or disdain for Changez. I read the novel as just a social commentary told through the conversation of a Pakistani man with an American tourist, and never thought that Changez was in any danger from the American. Many aspects of the novel can be interpreted in various ways. Some people in our  class believed Changez was an outsider to America, some thought he was an insider. The American was thought to be an assassin by a few people, I thought he was just an American businessman or government agent who was uneasy with Changez because he was a complete stranger and was divulging his entire life story to him. The entire novel can be reinterpreted many times.

One Response to “Different Interpretations”

  1. Olivia says:

    DJ, I really like the attention you gave to the novel’s flexibility, which I see as one of its most outstanding features. I believe that you’re right in saying that it is quite open to interpretation. I do also feel that Hamid builds a thrilling tension throughout the book, simply because I found myself waiting the entire time for the storytelling in the café to end and the real-time conflict (whatever it was) to begin, if for no other reason.