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Saturday, November 18, 2023

The Satanic VersesThe Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While I think this is an important novel to read, a lot of real-life stuff circles it and perhaps conflates its importance in people's minds rather more than the quality of the text, itself.

That is to say: the fatwa placed on Salman Rushdie since 1988, marking him for death for writing this novel, is more of a head-scratcher to someone like me than some kind of obvious reality.

What? This title isn't obviously about Satan writing poetry and a total insult to Muslim peoples?

That's just it... Aside from some rather satirical passages about an Imam, or rather, we can assume one particular Imam that put a hit out on Rushdie's life, this novel is pretty TAME. Fine, there are a few assumptions about Muhammad and points of interpretation that are hinted at that bring up the fact that -- perhaps -- certain people aren't completely infallible. But this, I think, is MILD.

Especially when there is so much racism out there, this is frankly a lyrical, dense piece of literature that is often a pure pleasure, funny, strange, irreverent, satirical, and almost always enjoyable. It's a clever novel with many concurrent levels, dream sequences, magical realism, transformations, and a great look both Hindu and Muslim Indian life.

Is it an easy text? No, not particularly. Indeed, it's so dense that I had to read it (both times) in short bursts just so I could digest the rich text. Whereas some novels are pure popcorn, this one was a full, balanced meal.

Suffice to say, I got a lot out of it and Rushdie's writing is GOOD. Gabriel and Satan as an Indian Movie star and an Indian ex-patriot was never what I would have expected, but it IS fascinating.

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