Friday, April 20, 2012

The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

"To be born again," sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, "first you have to die. Ho ji! Ho ji! To land upon the bosomy earth, first one needs to fly. Tat-taa! Taka-thun!How to ever smile again, if first you won't cry? How to win the darling's love, mister, without a sigh? Baba, if you want to get born again..." Just before dawn one winter's morning, New Year's Day or thereabouts, two real, full-grown, living men fell from a great height, twenty-nine thousand and two feet, towards the English Channel, without the benefit of parachutes or wings, out of a clear sky.

Ah, Rushdie. Such long sentences. Two men- the biggest movie star in India, and an expatriate returning from his visit to India in 15 years- fall from the sky and wash up on the sands of an English beach. As they fall, Gibreel Farishta, the movie star, is transformed into an angel of sorts, and Saladin Chamcha, the expatriate turns into a demonic, horned goat creature. They proceed through a series of dreams, revelations, and metamorphoses. This book has an almost dreamlike quality; you did know what was real (sort of), but the flowing sentences make it seem dreamlike. In this case, long, flowing sentences quite effective and enhanced the novel, rather than inhibiting the story, like in Wild Life.

The Satanic Verses caused much controversy, angering many Muslims, because of what they consider blashphemy towards Islam. A fatwa was issued ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie, and was not rescinded until 1998 by the Iranian government. You can read the Wikipedia entry about it here. Anyway, I enjoyed this novel. Though it was at first hard to get into, I quickly became interested in the characters and plot. It was a great story.

Read The Satanic Verses:

  • if you like Salman Rushdie
  • if you are interested in India
  • if you are interested in Islam
561 pages.

Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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