Friday, July 10, 2009

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

I was lucky enough to get my own copy of The Satanic Verses autographed by Salman Rushdie when he visited Chapman last year (that copy is sealed safely now in a ziplock bag!), and I finally got around to reading it this summer. What all the horrific fuss was about (that drove Rushdie into hiding with death threats howling after him, that led to riots and even deaths in Islamic countries) will probably escape a Western reader (the book was declared blasphemous, and a fatwa against Rushdie was issued in 1989 by the Ayatollah Khomeini) -- it has something to do with three pagan goddesses in Mecca that are part of the novel's subplot. As a whole, though, this is a complex, entertaining novel, packed with intricately interwoven language and fantastical, magical-realist scenes and sequences. The adventures and misadventures of the two Indian actors, Gibreel and Saladin, illuminate the varied experiences of Indian immigrants to the West, questioning/mocking conformity, alienation and identity itself. It's been called "the greatest novel never read," but it is actually very readable and enjoyable.

Leatherby Libraries Call Number: PR6068.U757 S27 1992
2nd Floor Humanities Library
Review submitted by: Mary Platt, Director of Communications
Rating: Highly Recommended

No comments: