The Satanic Verses: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

One of the most controversial and acclaimed novels ever written, The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie’s best-known and most galvanizing book. Set in a modern world filled with both mayhem and miracles, the story begins with a bang: the terrorist bombing of a London-bound jet in midflight. Two Indian actors of opposing sensibilities fall to earth, transformed into living symbols of what is angelic and evil. This is just the initial act in a magnificent odyssey that seamlessly merges the actual with the imagined. A...
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The Satanic Verses: A Novel

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Overview

One of the most controversial and acclaimed novels ever written, The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie’s best-known and most galvanizing book. Set in a modern world filled with both mayhem and miracles, the story begins with a bang: the terrorist bombing of a London-bound jet in midflight. Two Indian actors of opposing sensibilities fall to earth, transformed into living symbols of what is angelic and evil. This is just the initial act in a magnificent odyssey that seamlessly merges the actual with the imagined. A book whose importance is eclipsed only by its quality, The Satanic Verses is a key work of our times.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Just before dawn one winter's morning, a hijacked jumbo jet blows apart high above the English Channel. Two figures fall to the sea, later washing up, alive, on a beach. It was an ambiguous miracle, for both seem to have acquired curious changes. Both have been chosen as opponents in the eternal wrestling match between Good and Evil.

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Editorial Reviews

Michiko Katukani
The Satanic Verses is less concerned with history than with the broader questions of good and evil, identity and metamorphosis, race and culture. . . .There is a fine story somewhere in this volume — that of Saladin and his attempts to define a self that might embrace both the present and the past — but it doesn't take 500-plus pages to tell. — The New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Banned in India before publication, this immense novel by Booker Prize-winner Rushdie (Midnight's Children) pits Good against Evil in a whimsical and fantastic tale. Two actors from India, ``prancing'' Gibreel Farishta and ``buttony, pursed'' Saladin Chamcha, are flying across the English Channel when the first of many implausible events occurs: the jet explodes. As the two men plummet to the earth, ``like titbits of tobacco from a broken old cigar,'' they argue, sing and are transformed. When they are found on an English beach, the only survivors of the blast, Gibreel has sprouted a halo while Saladin has developed hooves, hairy legs and the beginnings of what seem like horns. What follows is a series of allegorical tales that challenges assumptions about both human and divine nature. Rushdie's fanciful language is as concentrated and overwhelming as a paisley pattern. Angels are demonic and demons are angelic as we are propelled through one illuminating episode after another.
Library Journal
When a terrorist's bomb destroys a jumbo jet high above the English Channel, two passengers fall safely to earth: Gibreel, an Indian movie actor, and Saladin, star of the controversial British television program, 'The Alien Show.' The near-death experience changes them into living symbols of good and evil -- Saladin grows horns, Gibreel a halo. From this fantastic premise Rushdie spins a huge collection of loosely related subplots that combine mythology, folklore, and TV trivia in a tour de force of magic realism that investigates the postmodern immigrant experience. (Why does an Indian expatriate feel homesick watching reruns of 'Dallas'?) Like Rushdie's award-winning novel Midnight's Children, this invites comparison with the miracle-laden narratives of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. -- Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles
Michiko Katukani
The Satanic Verses is less concerned with history than with the broader questions of good and evil, identity and metamorphosis, race and culture. . . .There is a fine story somewhere in this volume -- that of Saladin and his attempts to define a self that might embrace both the present and the past -- but it doesn't take 500-plus pages to tell. -- The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307786654
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/23/2011
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 60,757
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie is the author of seven novels, including The Satanic Verses, The Ground Beneath Her Feet and Midnight’s Children for which he won the Booker Prize and the “Booker of Bookers.”

Biography

Born in Mumbai, India, and educated in the U.K., multi-award-winning novelist Salman Rushdie is considered one of the most important and influential writers of contemporary English-language fiction.

Rushdie freelanced for two London advertising firms before turning to a full-time writing career. He made his literary debut in 1975 with Grimus, a sci-fi fantasy that made a very small splash in publishing circles. However, he hit the jackpot with his second novel, Midnight's Children, an ambitious allegory that parallels the turbulent history of India before and after partition. Widely considered Rushdie's magnum opus, Midnight's Children was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981. (Twelve years later, a panel of judges named it the best overall novel to have won the Booker Prize since the award's inception in 1975; and in 2005, Time included it on a list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923.)

Undoubtedly, though, the book that put Rushdie squarely on the cultural radar screen was The Satanic Verses. Published in 1988 and partially inspired by the life of the prophet Muhammad, this erudite study of good and evil won the Whitbread Book Award, but achieved far more notoriety when Muslim fundamentalists condemned it for its blasphemous portrayal of Islam. The book was banned in many Muslim countries, a fatwa was issued by the Iranian Ayatollah, and a multimillion dollar bounty was placed on Rushdie's head. The novelist spent much of the 1990s in hiding, under the protection of the British government. (In 1998, Iran officially lifted the fatwa, but threats against Rushdie's life still reverberate throughout the Muslim world.)

Even without the controversy inspired by The Satanic Verses, Rushdie's literary fame would be assured. His novels comprise a unique body of work that draws from fantasy, mythology, religion, and magic realism, blending them all with staggering imagination and comic brilliance. He has created his own idiom, pushing the boundaries of language with dazzling wordplay and a widely admired "chutnification" of history. His books have won most major awards in Europe and the U.K. and have garnered praise from critics around the world. Britain's Financial Times called him "Our most exhilaratingly inventive prose stylist." Time magazine raved, "No novelist currently writing in English does so with more energy, intelligence and allusiveness than Rushdie." And the writer Christopher Hitchens lamented in the Progressive that were it not for the death threats against him, Rushdie would surely be a Nobel laureate by now.

In addition to his bestselling novels, Rushdie has also produced essays, criticism, and a book of children's fiction. In 2007, Rushdie was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. The citation reads: "Ahmed Salman Rushdie -- author, for services to literature."

Good To Know

Rushdie was short-listed for The Literary Review's Bad Sex Award in 1995 for The Moor's Last Sigh, which included such verses as "For ever they sweated pepper ‘n' spices sweat."

Rushdie participated in a two-day, U.S. State Department conference entitled "Why Do They Hate Us?" for 50 diplomats in the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001.

Rushdie's first novel was a literate sci-fi fantasy entitled Grimus. Although it made only a very small splash in publishing circles, the book was deemed outstanding enough to be selected by a panel of distinguished writers (including Brian Aldiss, Kingsley Amis, and Arthur C. Clarke) as the best science fiction novel of 1975. However, at the last minute, his publishers withdrew the book from consideration, fearing that, if he won, Rushdie would never be able to shake the label of "genre writer."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ahmed Salman Rushdie
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 19, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bombay, Maharashtra, India
    1. Education:
      M.A. in History, King's College, University of Cambridge

Table of Contents

I. The Angel Gibreel
II. Mahound
III. Ellowen Deeowen
IV. Ayesha
V. A City Visible but Unseen
VI. Return to Jahilia
VII. The Angel Azraeel
VIII. The Parting of the Arabian Sea
IX. A Wonderful Lamp
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 66 )
Rating Distribution

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(25)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    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?

    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.

    20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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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 December 18, 2004

    The Master of Understatements.

    Soon I was playing a game with a friend - a wonderful game I created called, 'Opening Sentences for a Novel.' Inspired, of course, by Salman's Rushdie's Satanic Verses. The book is a parabalic.. hallucinatory journey.. a discovery of soul. An experiment with religion. A creative piece of brilliant work where Salman merely asks a few honest and insightful questions. So, one part of the journey.. (and only one part, mind you)... was about Mahound (aka Mohammad), and his tormented battle with the Archangel Gabriel... Within the Quran it explains that Mohammad wrestled with Gabriel.. and gabriel spoke the truth... The book begins with two indian men falling out of the night sky into the English sea... Wow.. what a beginning! It begins with them in perpetual fall... one man is terrified... the other man is singing jovially... and as they fall... they carry on a conversation... and Salman makes the comment: Let's face it; it was impossible for them to have heard one another, much less conversed and also competed thus in song. Accelerating towards the planet, atmosphere roaring around them, how could they? But let's face this, too: they did. Anyway, when they fall... the two men begin to slowly change.... one begins to transform into an angel... the other, into a hoofed goat.. with horns.. aka.. the devil... now, the man who's transforming into an angel... begins to have these... hallucinatory dreams... each dream.. is a continuation of the same story.... He knows that when he falls asleep again.. he's just going to pick up where he left of... and he dreams of Mahound, and in his dream, he IS Mohammad... So, Salman Rushdie concocted this brilliant scene... when Mahound wrestles with the archangel Gabriel.. and Gabriel's mouth opens.. and he speaks the truth.. The Truth, which became the Quran. But, as Salman explores this scene... he puts a twist to it... the character, Mahound.. (The dreaming Gabriel)... wonders if the Angel is actually talking.... or if he is only hearing what he wants to hear... It's pure poetry! The muslim fundementalists didn't even bother to try to understand the theme of the book! Which wasn't at all about religion... something far more endearing to the heart. Mahound was simply one chapter. For instance... You know the second guy? The one who turns into a horned goat.. Well, one chapter is about how he ended up in the middle of the sky! Starting from his youth... So, he's like 10.. and his father's a multi-millionaire.. but very hard on his son... the father thinks he's making a man out of him. But the son just despises him...One time the son finds a wallet on the street with a wadful of british pounds.... The father snatches the wallet off him... And here's the thing... the dad has the original magic lamp of Aladdin.. as traced back through the centuries. He had aquired it through some effort. BUT he NEVER rubbed the lamp! The 10 year old can't figure out why! His dad says, 'as long as it's mine, no one will rub it. When I die, it will be yours.. then you may do with it what you like.' Anyway... after this.. we leave their story altogether... and explore all these other fascinating characters... Right at the end of the book... the man's father has just died... and he aquires the magic lamp. I ain't gonna tell you the twist. It's BLOODY AMAZING! You will never come across a twist like that... very very rare.

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Tough read but worth it.

    Everyone should read this book if for no other reason than to see what all the hype was about. After all, how often does a book cause so much animosity that religious and political leaders call for the authors murder? The book is tough to follow, it combines three separate story lines, and uses copious metaphor and symbolism. It's often labeled as magical realism, which basically means that it combines extremely realistic and descriptive settings with completely unreal and fantastical happenings. It does get easier to read once you get through the first 100 pages or so. And if you aren't interested in it's commentary on Islam, or the disenfranchised, it's also just a really great story.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2001

    I love it

    The Satanic Verses is a great book and i reccomend it to every one who enjoys reading books if this kind.. you might not understand a few things ..... but when it comes to islam if you chalange anything in the quran the muslims kill you The Satanic Verses did a great job of defying the quran and try to get to the truth of islam

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2000

    Complicated but Wonderful

    A confusing book, but wonderful. I read it as part of a politics and literature course 7 years ago with a professor from India. Her insight in to some of the nuances of the book made it make sense. One needs to read the book for what it is and seek out answers to what they don't understand.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2003

    Islam and the Quran

    Islam needs to reign in its radical elements thus preventing these associations made by the western world...... a devote muslim knows in his heart of hearts that violence is not the answer.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2004

    Convoluted and grating

    I'm all for a challenging read, however, this novel was tedious with a capital T. I slogged through it until I had a hundred pages left, and by then I really didn't care what happened to the protagonists or to the people around them. I'm amazed that this novel received the attention it did when it was first released. Don't waste your time or your money.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2004

    BORING AND SENSELESS

    I bought this book because of the attention it has gained due to Khomeini's fatwa(death sentence) against Rushdie for writing this book. Although there were interesting sub-stories the main story was so boring and so contrived. I'd say even corny. Magical realism??! Gabriel Garcia Marquez he ain't. The whole plot is so jumbled because this Good and Evil thing is being forced into the story. A waste of time and money. Rushdie should be greatful for the ire of the Moslems because if it weren't for that nobody would even take a second look at this book.

    2 out of 8 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 February 14, 2003

    Satanic Verses

    An immense work. Good and evil need to coexist and, all too often, appearances are deceiving. You don't need a deep understanding of islam to enjoy this book. If those of you interested in this type of literature, De Vito's 'The Apocrypha' does for christianity what Rushdie did for the muslim faith.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2002

    Incomparable

    The Satanic Verses is my favorite novel, and will continue to be so for quite some time. Nothing compares with the plethora of imagery, symbolism, and allegories that riddle Rushdie's pages. Its characters become real people. Its plot is written so brilliantly that it's believable. Its message is provocative. Most of all, despite the extremely complicated, heavily characterized, lengthy plot, this book is thoroughly entertaining and engrossing. I stayed up hours late for several nights because I couldn't put it down. The Satanic Verses stirred up quite a bit of controversey in the Muslim world, and much like the Christian community rejects anything that questions Christianity's most questionable dogmas, some Muslims consider this book more sinful than murder. But like any religion, Islam has its weaknesses, and this book does well to make us think about them. Perhaps S.V. is so controversial because nobody wants to face the possibility that Islam could be based on fallacy.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2002

    WRRRRRRRRRRRRRONG!!!

    I think that Mr Rushdie has failed in his mission since the book has been read more by muslims than the expected readers.I couldn't finish the book because simply I've never finished books which I don't like.In this book there is lies every where.From what I've read It gives afalse statment about the HOLY QURAN specially for a non arabic speaker. Mr Rushdie knows very well that he missed his translation.Translations are funny.Like one (I think german)proverb says:They are like women if the are beautiful they are not fidel if they are they aren't beautiful. Forexample ,as a north african I know that Camus in French is not the same Camus in English .Mr Rushdie was wrong at the first step when he translated verses of the HOLY QURAN before he even explained them.I am against any challenge of any type against Mr Rushdie.Allah has already challenged him and people like him 15 centuries ago.He knows what verse I am talking about and he knows exactly where he can locate it in the QURAN.One star only for the beautiful cover.

    2 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2011

    Excellent Book!

    I don't care if you don't like his writing, but if you like the idea of free expression, of free speech, then The Satanic Verses is a must read. It is a modern document of our ongoing struggle to attain and maintain free expression. Rushdie is an amazing man. I am not so much a fan of his writing at times, but he is, once you allow the language to envelop you, an exceptional story teller. If you have any doubts or difficulties about reading his works, I would suggest that you begin by reading Horoun and the Sea of Stories or Luka and the Fire of Life, as they display his story telling ability much more clearly without having to be burdened (in a certain way) by the complexity of his use of language.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2005

    what's the fuss?

    Rushdie's book is a mixture of Alice in Wonderland meets Madison avenue. Although the the title seems provocative and dramatic, the book is only mildly so. Although almost presaging 9/11 with its airplane terror scene, the book is otherwise stilted in too many scene changes to fast. While I couldn't put the book down I was left, at the end of Rushdie's highly publicized tome, scratching my head and looking for a point.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2003

    Outstanding

    I purchased this book expecting a religious commentary along the lines of William Blake. Little did I know that it was a marvelous literary work of fiction. Rushdie's style is not the easiest to read, but is highly rewarding and flows quite nicely once accustomed to it. The satire contained within is very easy to miss (I could read this book in 50 years time and still not understand some of the jokes), but those I caught had me laughing hysterically. I do not quite understand the great offense taken by so many saying that it is such an evil book, but then again I'm not a poster boy for organized religion anyhow. I think that too many people saw that the title had the word 'Satanic' in it and shunned it immediately. Their loss...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2003

    Satanic Verses

    An excellent novel on the nature of good and evil, reality vs. perception, truth and beauty. I can understand why devote islamists denounce the book. But look at what the book is saying, rather than harping on the stereotypes it is smashing - you'll find the message is not all that different.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2002

    A Superb Achievement

    This is one of the few books that the future will look on with the same respect that we have when we look at the greats from centuries past. It is sometimes sad and heartbreaking, sometimes controversial, but the overall attitude of this work is surprisingly uplifting with the picaresque humor and the redemptive aspects of the work. It is a truly moving book that deserves all the attention that it has gotten. It's unfortunate that so much of that attention is based on the less important yet more controversial aspects of the novel. A phenomenal piece of literature.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2002

    Work of Art

    Salman Rushdie has done a great job expresing the eternal figth of good and evil, no matter what realigion you are from. I was deligthed by the extencive colection of stories where it lets you think about other ideas related with life (and death) It will be foolish to not accept the concept of how this book tells you how corrupt and incoherent is the Islam religion. This book lets you get a clear perception of politics on the middle east work and why is like that. I really enjoyed this book even though I took me a while to go through the 500 pages. Really good work.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2001

    a carnival of sorts

    this novel is at the very least, daunting. if not from the title or the controversy or or the size or the reputation. but im convinced as a reader and particularly one with an interest in religion and philosophy that it is a challenge worth taking on. Some of the one-liners (both humerous and serious) are priceless. there is defiantely literary worth in the book, plenty, it just seems to me that it hit too much of an exposed nerve in its reviewers. Luckily, the itch was ignited by a worthy force. Rushdie has some briliant passages, which would make any poet or musician sigh- and he has passages that annoy all the brilliant analytical critics. There is, i think, a place for him in the postmodern (-y)literary canon next to (fill in the blank) and (of course) way down the hall from Thomas Pynchon and Kurt Vonnegut. In the end, with both sides of artist and critic as opposed (and entrenched) as ever, the novel (ultimately) fails to reconcile the two in one fall swoop...which, to be fair, is perhaps way too much more than can be asked for......where else but in fiction can we honestly have this wish? However, reading a novel by an obviously deeply comitted (NOT irresonsible gadfly) and fiercely talented (NOT hack, sensationalist blasphemer) writer like Rushdie should be enjoyed for its own sake. Perhaps not (maybe) an Immortal Prose Masterpiece, but a very interesting and humanly accurate (albeit faulted and at times simply too damn confusing) story which certainly deserves unhysterical attention.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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