Shalimar the Clown

( 17 )

Overview


“Dazzling . . . Modern thriller, Ramayan epic, courtroom drama, slapstick comedy, wartime adventure, political satire, village legend–they’re all blended here magnificently.”
The Washington Post Book World

This is the story of Maximilian Ophuls, America’s counterterrorism chief, one of the makers of the modern world; his Kashmiri Muslim driver and subsequent killer, a mysterious figure who calls himself ...

See more details below
Paperback
$10.45
BN.com price
(Save 34%)$16.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (98) from $1.99   
  • New (14) from $3.95   
  • Used (84) from $1.99   
Shalimar the Clown

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview


“Dazzling . . . Modern thriller, Ramayan epic, courtroom drama, slapstick comedy, wartime adventure, political satire, village legend–they’re all blended here magnificently.”
The Washington Post Book World

This is the story of Maximilian Ophuls, America’s counterterrorism chief, one of the makers of the modern world; his Kashmiri Muslim driver and subsequent killer, a mysterious figure who calls himself Shalimar the clown; Max’s illegitimate daughter India; and a woman who links them, whose revelation finally explains them all. It is an epic narrative that moves from California to Kashmir, France, and England, and back to California again. Along the way there are tales of princesses lured from their homes by demons, legends of kings forced to defend their kingdoms against evil. And there is always love, gained and lost, uncommonly beautiful and mortally dangerous.

“A commanding story . . . [a] harrowing climax . . . Revenge is an ancient and powerful engine of narrative.”
–The New York Times Book Review

“Absorbing . . . Everywhere [Rushdie] takes us there is both love and war, in strange and terrifying combinations, painted in swaying, swirling, world-eating prose that annihilates the borders between East and West, love and hate, private lives and the history they make.”
Time

“A vast, richly peopled, beautiful and deeply rageful book that serves as a profound and disturbing artifact of our times.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Marvelous . . . brilliant . . . a story worthy of [Rushdie’s] genius.”
Detroit Free Press

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
– The Washington Post Book World –Los Angeles Times Book Review –St. Louis Post-Dispatch –Rocky Mountain News

ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR
–Time –Chicago Tribune –The Christian Science Monitor

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The lives of two vastly different men intersect for one fatal moment. Ambassador Maximilian Ophuls is stabbed in broad daylight by his Kashmiri Muslim chauffeur, a tragic eccentric who calls himself Shalimar the Clown. To explain how they arrived at that point, Salman Rushdie must reach back into the history of three continents and construct a parable of multiculturalism. A finely textured novel by "a perpetual storyteller."
From the Publisher
"A sprawling tale of love and politics. . . . A daring aesthetic and political balancing act that traffics in many of the major concerns of post-colonial literature, but always within an evolving and bravely empathetic story. . . . One of Rushdie's best, and an important and rewarding must-read."
National Post

"Read Shalimar the Clown for the effervescent fun factor that is always present in Rushdie's work. . . and for its devastating portrait of the destruction of Kashmir."
The Globe and Mail

"[Shalimar the Clown] is that rare highwire act, a literary thriller. It seems a vigorous rebutal to the recent dismissal of fiction by V. S. Naipaul, to the effect that 'if you write a novel... it's of no account.'"
Financial Times (UK)

“A masterly deployment of interconnected narratives spanning six decades. . . . Dazzling. . . . A magical-realist masterpiece that equals, and arguably surpasses, the achievements of Midnight’s Children, Shame and The Moor’s Last Sigh. The Swedes won’t dare to offend Islam by giving Rushdie the Nobel Prize he deserves more than any other living writer. Injustice rules.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The. . .transformation of Shalimar into a terrorist is easily the most impressive achievement of the book, and here one must congratulate Rushdie for having made artistic capital out of his own suffering, for the years spent under police protection, hunted by zealots, have been poured into the novel in ways which ring hideously true. . . . Shalimar the Clown is a powerful parable about the willing and unwilling subversion of multiculturalism.”
Publishers Weekly

Praise for Salman Rushdie:
"Our most exhilaratingly inventive prose stylist, a writer of breathtaking originality. . . . He has become, as much for his convictions as for his creativity, the finest English writer of India."
Financial Times (UK)

"With Rushdie one is always in the presence of a true original. . . . More than any other contemporary English writer, Rushdie makes the page sing with his prose."
The Washington Post Book World

"A master storyteller.
The Standard (UK)

"A great novelist, a master of perpetual storytelling."
—V. S. Pritchett

Praise for Fury:
"An exhilarating read. . . . One page of Fury is worth a thousand pages of the grey, risk-averse prose that passes so often for contemporary literary fiction."
The Globe and Mail

"A beautifully written and carefully constructed novel. . . . [Fury] ricochets back and forth between well mannered realism and [Rushdie’s] own brand of what might almost be called surrealism — manic, absurdist, biting, over-the-top and very funny."
The Vancouver Sun

From the Hardcover edition.

Ron Charles
… Rushdie has written an intensely political novel, infused with recent events, but its emotional scope reaches so far beyond our current crisis and its vision into the vagaries of the heart is so perceptive that one can imagine Shalimar the Clown being read long after this age of sacred terror has faded into history.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
For Westerners, Rushdie's latest may be better heard than read. While readers might stumble over the Kashmiri, Indian and Pakistani names and accents, Mandvi glides right through them, allowing us to engage with Rushdie's well-wrought characters and sagas. Mandvi has a calm, quiet storyteller voice, often employing tempo to express emotional states and to make long, complex sentences entirely clear. In fact, one realizes he is nearly invisible (until he reads a few lines in a Romance language), leaving us to relish the sounds and images and rhythms of Rushdie's language. The book begins at the end, with the murder of the former American ambassador to India, Maximilian Ophuls, now a counterterrorist expert, then introduces his murderer, Shalimar the Clown, Kashmiri actor and acrobat-cum-terrorist, and Ophuls's illegitimate daughter, India, who brings the book to a conclusion as terror-filled and ambiguous as our own future. Suspense and tension are superbly built and layered through mythology and plots of lust and jealousy intertwined with cultural, religious, national and international affairs. Rushdie does get polemical for a while, even didactic; his writing in these sections sometimes sounds speechifying. Yet we come away with a mostly lyrical parable that offers us a way of grappling with the realities of our time and place, a way of refracting history through multiple lenses. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, July 25). (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In 1990s Los Angeles, Ambassador Maximilian Ophuls is murdered in front of his illegitimate daughter, India, by his Kashmiri Muslim driver, a.k.a. Shalimar the Clown. Was it assassination or something more personal? Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Vintage Rushdie, in a sprawling story ripped from today's-and, undoubtedly, tomorrow's-headlines. A presumably political assassination that's in fact deeply "personal," the separate histories of the disputed territories of Strasbourg and Kashmir, and the classical Indian epic Ramayana are all ingeniously conflated and reimagined in Rushdie's dazzling ninth novel. It begins in 1993, when former U.S. Ambassador to India Maximilian Ophuls is murdered and nearly beheaded outside his Los Angeles home by his Muslim driver, who, the world will soon learn, is Kashmiri native Noman Sher Noman, a former traveling player and amateur acrobat known as "Shalimar the Clown." In a masterly deployment of interconnected narratives spanning six decades, we learn of Noman's youthful marriage to beautiful dancer "Boonyi" Kaul and her calculated dalliance with visiting diplomat Ophuls, who takes her (willingly) away, fathers her daughter and sorrowfully permits her disgraced return to Kashmir as Boonyi. Now grossly fat and guilt-ridden, she anticipates either her husband's forgiveness or his righteous vengeance. One parallel story is an extended flashback detailing Max's youth in war-torn Strasbourg, experiences as a Resistance hero and rise in the world of diplomacy. Other narratives recount Kashmir's ongoing victimization by Pakistan and India (notably, stiff-necked military leader Hammirdev Kachhawa and fanatical "iron mullah" Bulbul Fakh). Rushdie introduces numerous vivid characters variously related to Noman and Boonyi and describes Noman's training as a terrorist within an increasingly violent Kashmiri "liberation front." The pattern of the Ramayana-which recalls a hero's "war" waged against the "demon"who steals his beloved-is ingeniously reiterated when "Shalimar" fulfills his mission, eludes the sentence pronounced on him and confronts the woman who may or may not become his final victim. That the threat he incarnates will never go away, and we do not know our story's ending, is unforgettably dramatized, in a magical-realist masterpiece that equals, and arguably surpasses, the achievements of Midnight's Children, Shame and The Moor's Last Sigh. The Swedes won't dare to offend Islam by giving Rushdie the Nobel Prize he deserves more than any other living writer. Injustice rules.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679783480
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/10/2006
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 578,417
  • Product dimensions: 8.04 (w) x 5.16 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie was born in 1947. He is the author of eight previous novels: Grimus, Midnight’s Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet and Fury. He has published a collection of short stories, East, West, a book of reportage, The Jaguar Smile, two collections of essays,Imaginary Homelands and Step Across This Line, and a work of film criticism about The Wizard of Oz.

Salman Rushdie’s second novel, Midnight’s Children, was awarded both the Booker Prize and the “Booker of Bookers,” as the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. His other accolades include the Whitbread Novel Award, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. Salman Rushdie lives in London and New York.

To schedule a speaking engagement, please contact American Program Bureau at www.apbspeakers.com  

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."

Read More Show Less
    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

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

At twenty-four the ambassador’s daughter slept badly through the warm, unsurprising nights. She woke up frequently and even when sleep did come her body was rarely at rest, thrashing and flailing as if trying to break free of dreadful invisible manacles. At times she cried out in a language she did not speak. Men had told her this, nervously. Not many men had ever been permitted to be present while she slept. The evidence was therefore limited, lacking consensus; however, a pattern emerged. According to one report she sounded guttural, glottal-stoppy, as if she were speaking Arabic. Night-Arabian, she thought, the dreamtongue of Scheherazade. Another version described her words as science-fictional, like Klingon, like a throat being cleared in a galaxy far, far away. Like Sigourney Weaver channeling a demon in Ghostbusters. One night in a spirit of research the ambassador’s daughter left a tape recorder running by her bedside but when she heard the voice on the tape its death’s-head ugliness, which was somehow both familiar and alien, scared her badly and she pushed the erase button, which erased nothing important. The truth was still the truth.

These agitated periods of sleep-speech were mercifully brief, and when they ended she would subside for a time, sweating and panting, into a state of dreamless exhaustion. Then abruptly she would awake again, convinced, in her disoriented state, that there was an intruder in her bedroom. There was no intruder. The intruder was an absence, a negative space in the darkness. She had no mother. Her mother had died giving her birth: the ambassador’s wife had told her this much, and the ambassador, her father, had confirmed it. Her mother had been Kashmiri, and was lost to her, like paradise, like Kashmir, in a time before memory. (That the terms Kashmir and paradise were synonymous was one of her axioms, which everyone who knew her had to accept.) She trembled before her mother’s absence, a void sentinel shape in the dark, and waited for the second calamity, waited without knowing she was waiting. After her father died—her brilliant, cosmopolitan father, Franco-American, “like Liberty,” he said, her beloved, resented, wayward, promiscuous, often absent, irresistible father—she began to sleep soundly, as if she had been shriven. Forgiven her sins, or, perhaps, his. The burden of sin had been passed on. She did not believe in sin.

So until her father’s death she was not an easy woman to sleep with, though she was a woman with whom men wanted to sleep. The pressure of men’s desires was tiresome to her. The pressure of her own desires was for the most part unrelieved. The few lovers she took were variously unsatisfactory and so (as if to declare the subject closed) she soon enough settled on one pretty average fellow, and even gave serious consideration to his proposal of marriage. Then the ambassador was slaughtered on her doorstep like a halal chicken dinner, bleeding to death from a deep neck wound caused by a single slash of the assassin’s blade. In broad daylight! How the weapon must have glistened in the golden morning sun; which was the city’s quotidian blessing, or its curse. The daughter of the murdered man was a woman who hated good weather, but most of the year the city offered little else. Accordingly, she had to put up with long monotonous months of shadowless sunshine and dry, skin-cracking heat. On those rare mornings when she awoke to cloud cover and a hint of moisture in the air she stretched sleepily in bed, arching her back, and was briefly, even hopefully, glad; but the clouds invariably burned off by noon and then there it was again, the dishonest nursery blue of the sky that made the world look childlike and pure, the loud impolite orb blaring at her like a man laughing too loudly in a restaurant.

In such a city there could be no grey areas, or so it seemed. Things were what they were and nothing else, unambiguous, lacking the subtleties of drizzle, shade and chill. Under the scrutiny of such a sun there was no place to hide. People were everywhere on display, their bodies shining in the sunlight, scantily clothed, reminding her of advertisements. No mysteries here or depths; only surfaces and revelations. Yet to learn the city was to discover that this banal clarity was an illusion. The city was all treachery, all deception, a quick-change, quicksand metropolis, hiding its nature, guarded and secret in spite of all its apparent nakedness. In such a place even the forces of destruction no longer needed the shelter of the dark. They burned out of the morning’s brightness, dazzling the eye, and stabbed at you with sharp and fatal light.

Her name was India. She did not like this name. People were never called Australia, were they, or Uganda or Ingushetia or Peru. In the mid-1960s her father, Max Ophuls (Maximilian Ophuls, raised in Strasbourg, France, in an earlier age of the world), had been America’s best-loved, and then most scandalous, ambassador to India, but so what, children were not saddled with names like Herzegovina or Turkey or Burundi just because their parents had visited those lands and possibly misbehaved in them. She had been conceived in the East—conceived out of wedlock and born in the midst of the firestorm of outrage that twisted and ruined her father’s marriage and ended his diplomatic career—but if that were sufficient excuse, if it was okay to hang people’s birthplaces round their necks like albatrosses, then the world would be full of men and women called Euphrates or Pisgah or Iztaccíhuatl or Woolloomooloo. In America, damn it, this form of naming was not unknown, which spoiled her argument slightly and annoyed her more than somewhat. Nevada Smith, Indiana Jones, Tennessee Williams, Tennessee Ernie Ford: she directed mental curses and a raised middle finger at them all.

“India” still felt wrong to her, it felt exoticist, colonial, suggesting the appropriation of a reality that was not hers to own, and she insisted to herself that it didn’t fit her anyway, she didn’t feel like an India, even if her color was rich and high and her long hair lustrous and black. She didn’t want to be vast or subcontinental or excessive or vulgar or explosive or crowded or ancient or noisy or mystical or in any way Third World. Quite the reverse. She presented herself as disciplined, groomed, nuanced, inward, irreligious, understated, calm. She spoke with an English accent. In her behavior she was not heated, but cool. This was the persona she wanted, that she had constructed with great determination. It was the only version of her that anyone in America, apart from her father and the lovers who had been scared off by her nocturnal proclivities, had ever seen. As to her interior life, her violent English history, the buried record of disturbed behavior, the years of delinquency, the hidden episodes of her short but eventful past, these things were not subjects for discussion, were not (or were no longer) of concern to the general public. These days she had herself firmly in hand. The problem child within her was sublimated into her spare-time pursuits, the weekly boxing sessions at Jimmy Fish’s boxing club on Santa Monica and Vine where Tyson and Christy Martin were known to work out and where the cold fury of her hitting made the male boxers pause to watch, the biweekly training sessions with a Clouseau-attacking Burt Kwouk look-alike who was a master of the close-combat martial art of Wing Chun, the sun-bleached blackwalled solitude of Saltzman’s Moving Target shooting gallery out in the desert at 29 Palms, and, best of all, the archery sessions in downtown Los Angeles near the city’s birthplace in Elysian Park, where her new gifts of rigid self-control, which she had learned in order to survive, to defend herself, could be used to go on the attack. As she drew back her golden Olympic-standard bow, feeling the pressure of the bowstring against her lips, sometimes touching the bottom of the arrow shaft with the tip of her tongue, she felt the arousal in herself, allowed herself to feel the heat rising in her while the seconds allotted to her for the shot ticked down toward zero, until at last she let fly, unleashing the silent venom of the arrow, reveling in the distant thud of her weapon hitting its target. The arrow was her weapon of choice.

She also kept the strangeness of her seeing under control, the sudden otherness of vision that came and went. When her pale eyes changed the things she saw, her tough mind changed them back. She did not care to dwell on her turbulence, never spoke about her childhood, and told people she did not remember her dreams.

On her twenty-fourth birthday the ambassador came to her door. She looked down from her fourth-floor balcony when he buzzed and saw him waiting in the heat of the day wearing his absurd silk suit like a French sugar daddy. Holding flowers, yet. “People will think you’re my lover,” India shouted down to Max, “my cradle-snatching Valentine.” She loved the ambassador when he was embarrassed, the pained furrow of his brow, the right shoulder hunching up against his ear, the hand raised as if to ward off a blow. She saw him fracture into rainbow colors through the prism of her love. She watched him recede into the past as he stood below her on the sidewalk, each successive moment of him passing before her eyes and being lost forever, surviving only in outer space in the form of escaping light-rays. This is what loss was, what death was: an escape into the luminous wave-forms, into the ineffable speed of the light-years and the parsecs, the eternally receding distances of the cosmos. At the rim of the known universe an unimaginable creature would someday put its eye to a telescope and see Max Ophuls approaching, wearing a silk suit and carrying birthday roses, forever borne forward on tidal waves of light. Moment by moment he was leaving her, becoming an ambassador to such unthinkably distant elsewheres. She closed her eyes and opened them again. No, he was not billions of miles away amid the wheeling galaxies. He was here, correct and present, on the street where she lived.

He had recovered his poise. A woman in running clothes rounded the corner from Oakwood and cantered toward him, appraising him, making the easy judgments of the times, judgments about sex and money. He was one of the architects of the postwar world, of its international structures, its agreed economic and diplomatic conventions. His tennis game was strong even now, at his advanced age. The inside-out forehand, his surprise weapon. That wiry frame in long white trousers, carrying not much more than five percent body fat, could still cover the court. He reminded people of the old champion Jean Borotra: those few old-timers who remembered Borotra. He stared with undisguised European pleasure at the jogger’s American breasts in their sports bra. As she passed him he offered her a single rose from the enormous birthday bouquet. She took the flower; and then, appalled by his charm, by the erotic proximity of his snappy crackle of power, and by herself, accelerated anxiously away. Fifteen–love.

From the balconies of the apartment building the old Central and East European ladies were also staring at Max, admiringly, with the open lust of toothless age. His arrival was the high point of their month. They were out en masse today. Usually they gathered together in small street-corner clumps or sat in twos and threes by the courtyard swimming pool chewing the fat, sporting inadvisable beachwear without shame. Usually they slept a lot and when not sleeping complained. They had buried the husbands with whom they had spent forty or even fifty years of unregarded life. Stooped, leaning, expressionless, the old women lamented the mysterious destinies that had stranded them here, halfway across the world from their points of origin. They spoke in strange tongues that might have been Georgian, Croatian, Uzbek. Their husbands had failed them by dying. They were pillars that had fallen, they had asked to be relied upon and had brought their wives away from everything that was familiar into this shadowless lotus-land full of the obscenely young, this California whose body was its temple and whose ignorance was its bliss, and then proved themselves unreliable by keeling over on the golf course or face down in a bowl of noodle soup, thus revealing to their widows at this late stage in their lives the untrustworthiness of existence in general and of husbands in particular. In the evenings the widows sang childhood songs from the Baltic, from the Balkans, from the vast Mongolian plains.

The neighborhood’s old men were single, too, some inhabiting sagging sacks of bodies over which gravity had exerted far too much power, others grizzle-chopped and letting themselves go in dirty T-shirts and pants with unbuttoned flies, while a third, jauntier contingent dressed sharply, affecting berets and bow ties. These natty gents periodically tried to engage the widows in conversation. Their efforts, with yellow glints of false teeth and melancholy sightings of slicked-down vestiges of hair beneath the doffed berets, were invariably and contemptuously ignored. To these elderly beaux, Max Ophuls was an affront, the ladies’ interest in him a humiliation. They would have killed him if they could, if they had not been too busy staving off their own deaths.

India saw it all, the exhibitionist, desirous old women pirouetting and flirting on the verandahs, the lurking, spiteful old men. The antique Russian super, Olga Simeonovna, a bulbous denim-clad samovar of a woman, was greeting the ambassador as if he were a visiting head of state. If there had been a red carpet on the premises she would have rolled it out for him.

“She keeps you waiting, Mr. Ambassador, what you gonna do, the young. I say nothing against. Just, a daughter these days is more difficult, I was a daughter myself who for me my father was like a god, to keep him waiting unthinkable. Alas, daughters today are hard to raise and then they leave you flat. I sir am formerly mother, but now they are dead to me, my girls. I spit on their forgotten names. This is how it is.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1. What most captivated your interest or emotions in Shalimar the Clown?

2. Discuss the importance of the most interesting (to you) of the following themes in Shalimar the Clown: love / sex / revenge / prophecy / voices / history / humour.

3. “Everywhere was now a part of everywhere else… Our lives, stories, flowed into one another’s, were no longer our own, individual, discrete.”

How does Shalimar the Clown dramatize the crises seemingly caused by the interconnectedness of the world, as we see it today, from WWII to the conflict between religious traditions and secular ones? Does it suggest any answers to these pressing problems of our time?

4. Who is your favourite minor character in the book? Colonel Kachhwaha? Nazarébaddoor? The Iron Mullah?

5. What is the significance of landscape and place in Shalimar the Clown? How do the embattled and divided locations affect events and inform the characters’ experiences? How does the Edenic past collide with the world of today?

6. How does the novel’s mix of documentary realism (for example, the crackdown in Kashmir) with more fantastic elements (say, its use of coincidence) succeed in creating intense drama?

7. What are your criticisms of Shalimar the Clown?

8. Discuss the ending of the book. Why do you think Shalimar the Clown ends with that particular scene, at that particular moment?

9. How would you compare Shalimar the Clown with Salman Rushdie’s other books, in particular, Midnight’s Children? Can it be compared to the work of any other author?

10. “The infidel says that a man’s character will decide his fate; we say that a man’s fate will forge his character anew.”
–Bulbul Fakh, the Iron Mullah, during Shalimar’s indoctrination.

How else are character and destiny understood in Shalimar the Clown?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    In Shalimar The Clown, Rushdie takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the countries of India, Pakistan, modern-day L.A., wartime France, England and Austria and the emotional countries of love, betrayal, passion, jealousy, revenge and retribution. It is a compelling book that takes over the lives of its readers as they burrow further and further into the tale.

    In the beautiful province of Kashmir, a couple falls in love. Shalimar is the star of the local acrobatic troupe, a clown who can walk the tightrope as if he were walking on air. His young love and then wife, Boonyi, was the most beautiful and talented dancer. Although Shalimar was Muslim and Boonyi Hindu, they fell in love and were protected by the villagers, who refused to let religion separate friendships and love.

    Into this idyllic relationship, as always, trouble arrived. In this case, it happened when Boonyi danced for the American Ambassador, a charming, charismatic man named Max Ophuls. Their subsequent affair laid into place events that would play out over the next decades.

    Salman Rushdie is one of the premier novelists of our time, and I have never been less than mesmerized with any of his books. His characterizations are so detailed that one feels they know every character. Each, no matter how small a part they play in the story, are given intricate backgrounds that explain their motivations. Rushdie's ability to use these characters to explore the age-old themes such as love, jealousy, betrayal, political movements, the movement of nations from one state to another, is unparalleled. This book is recommended for any reader interested in a great read that will keep them enthralled from start to finish.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2006

    It should have been written twenty years ago.

    The novels timeline would be different but this book should have been written years ago. What has happened in India, Pakistan, Kashmir and the surrounding regions, and is still happening today, is a story that needs to be told.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 2, 2013

    Exceptional ! A must-read ! Rushdie's novel is a masterpiece,

    Exceptional ! A must-read !

    Rushdie's novel is a masterpiece, one of the best in my opinion! The man is definitely a genius of literature !

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2013

    A masterpiece

    To call this the novel of a year would be the understatement of a decade, and perhaps a century. The charcters are completely flushed out, the multiple narratives flawlessly integrated, and the story of a land mirrored in that of some of its inhabitants.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    MY LIST WHAT WHAAAAT?

    Dawncln Riverclan Sapphireclan Coolclan Leafclan Happyclan Kitclan. (Windclan and Foreclan)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 29, 2010

    A Must Read

    I absolutely loved the characters, plot and settings in this excellent novel. If you are a fan of Rushdie then I highly recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2007

    Melancholy, sublime, moving and powerful

    In an age where 'fantastic' means little more than competent mediocrity, one struggles to find an adjective that can do justice to the the soul of this remarkable book. Rushdie's masterful descriptions of the characters, their triumphs, their defeats both great and ignominous, their treacheries big and small, their humanity and the thread that links their fates makes this one a compelling read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2006

    Good book ... first time i agree with salman

    I have read two other books by salman rushdie. I love his style of writing and admires his intellegence. But I do not usually agree with his views...the way he potrays muslims, islam and the subcontinent. This is the first time that he has been fair to that part of the world. He has done a really good job of telling the core the problem in a story and has covered it well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2005

    Rushdie.....Going back to his roots

    Salman Rushdie has finally started doing something that he should have started a long time ago i.e. tell the world about the pathetic situation his brethren in Indian Occupied Kashmir are in even if he doesn't share the same ideology that Kashmiri's believe in.....He is still genetically a Kashmiri and has a moral responsibility to help Kashmiri's put an end to their relentless sufferring at the hands of the Indian forces occuppying Kashmir.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 17 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)