Customer Reviews for

The Satanic Verses

Average Rating 3.5
( 66 )
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(25)

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(10)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Review by www.cymlowell.blogspot.com

I have wanted to read and think about this insightful book for many years. It caused an uproar in the Islamic world, including a fatwa death sentence for the author. I always wondered why? How can a story about other prophets cause an uproar amongst their followers?

...
I have wanted to read and think about this insightful book for many years. It caused an uproar in the Islamic world, including a fatwa death sentence for the author. I always wondered why? How can a story about other prophets cause an uproar amongst their followers?

To me, the story line essentially chronicles the journey of the prophet in the walk around world. In many senses, The Satanic Verses is similar in nature to other journey books which seem intended to allow the reader (and the author, of course) to explore the conscious and subconscious of the heroes. I enjoyed reading Siddhartha by Herman Hess, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, The Iliyad and the Odyssey by Homer, and many others. In each, the hero embarks upon a journey of self-discovery, danger, ecstacy, and fate. Often the results of the journey, successful or otherwise, seem to me to largely be a matter of serendipity. In Siddhartha, the rich Indian boy found his peace in ferrying pilgrims across the river close to his original home. In The Alchemist, the shepard boy found his treasure in Fatima at the oasis. How can one account for the joy these young men ultimately found in simplicity?

It is up to the reader to find meaning in any story, including especially its meaning in his or her own life.

I think such stories are successful if they trigger introspection in the reader. How is my life or journey similar to the hero's? What can I learn from this hero's journey to guide me in my life. If there is deep religious connotation, or comment, do I agree with the views communicated by the author and the protagonists?

The Satanic Verses is at once allegorical, satirical, whimsical, and oftentimes, to me, far less penetrable in any conventional sense than most of the books we read on a day-to-day basis. Like reading James Joyce, the twists and turns of the narrative require focus and abstract thought. In this regard, I was reminded of my long read of Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr., an allegorical story of my childhood home in Indiana. It took me awhile to get through the 1,500 pages. When I was done I had discovered what I was looking for in those pages. Frankly, I enjoyed the introspection.

In the case of Satanic Verses, my wait was worthwhile. Mr. Rushdie has a wonderful capacity for inducing self-examination. His fine work has earned the rave reviews that it has gotten for the many years since its original publication. It is far more complex than such stories as The Alchemist, yet it is the complexity that provides such rich texture.

From a cultural perspective, I found it a far more difficult struggle to engage the hero in The Satanic Verses, than in Siddhartha written by a German or The Alchemist written by a Latin.

As with any great book, the re-reading after a passage of time will bring even greater insight. I look forward to that time as well.

posted by CymLowell on January 9, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

16 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

This book is smarter than this reader.

The first chapter was one of the best first chapters I have ever read. But I found the story line hard to follow and gave up half way through the book. I have a sense that I was just not smart enough for this book. I hate when that happens.

posted by RedWriter on February 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    This book is smarter than this reader.

    The first chapter was one of the best first chapters I have ever read. But I found the story line hard to follow and gave up half way through the book. I have a sense that I was just not smart enough for this book. I hate when that happens.

    16 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2003

    Educated, but not DUPED.

    Sorry, but I fail to see the point and/or message behind Mr. Rushdie's convoluted, seemingly opium-induced 'fable'. Unless one of my literature professors were on hand to walk me through the overwrought paragraphs, I'd have no way of knowing what Rushdie was getting at, aside from some whining about and tweaking of Islam. I don't believe the hype.

    2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2009

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    Posted January 6, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2013

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