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Shalimar the Clown: A Novel Paperback – October 10, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Shalimar is at once a political thriller, folk tale, slapstick comedy, wartime adventure, and work of science fiction, pop culture, and magical realism. In shimmering (if sometimes baroque) language, Rushdie invokes clever satire and imaginative wordplay. Yet, despite its diverse genres and styles, Shalimar is, at heart, a story of love, honor, and revengeand the global consequences of such emotions and actions. Critics particularly praised Rushdies shocking description of Shalimars transformation into a cold-blooded Islamic terrorist, from his participation in training camps to forced humiliations before Taliban leaders. Similarly, wrenching descriptions of pre- and post-war Kashmir, his homage to a paradise lost, confirm Rushdies brilliant powers of observation and keen social insight. Some reviewers felt that some characters lacked psychological depth or complete plausibility, or were too allegorical, but most described Shalimar as convincingly realtoo real, even.
In the 21st century, Shalimars painful, terrifying themes are both fantastical and devastatingly real. To evidence otherwise, Rushdie offers a note of cautious optimism: people can work out their differences if left alone by ideologues or fanatics. Shalimar provides a timely, ultimately idealistic, message for our times.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
He has received many awards for his writing including the European Union's Aristeion Prize for Literature. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. In 1993 Midnight's Children was judged to be the 'Booker of Bookers', the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. In June 2007 he received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Top Customer Reviews
I would suggest the book is about so much more than terrorism. In fact I think his views of terrorism are not integral to the story and would not recommend reading it as a text in support of or against current US policy. Rushdie condemns politicians and their inane behavior in many ways, but I do not view that as central.
First and foremost, I believe this book is about the meaning of freedom. This brings it close to the heart of Rushdie who of course had to give up his freedom, at least for awhile to take advantage of his freedom to think and write. The book recounts the flights to freedom and differing views of it through many of the characters in the book. It explores the struggles of many characters to attain freedom or to benefit from it. This includes Max Ophuls who fled the nazis, Boon-yi, the heroine of sorts, who is trapped in her life, India Ophuls, the daughter of Maxand other characters. It is also about Kashmir and its loss of freedom at the hands of India and Pakistan who use it for their political ends.
I also believe this book is about the western concept of fate as passed down from the Greeks and its meanings. It is also about women and their role in societies and how they cope with men, life, love, tragedy and more. Much of it reminded me of the classics by men and written about women. Yes this is a short list, but Rushdie does such an amazing job of dealing with these issues, I can hardly do it justice.
All this is done through a tight plot with typical Rushdie humor, twists and turns and a good share of mysticism. It was a pleasure to read and I heartily recommend it.
Rushdie's writing is mesmerizing throughout. The narrative is a dense tapestry that seems to lead in many directions but is all, in the end, tightly woven together. The only weakness, in my humble opinion, was that his protagonaist, India Ophuls, is an unappetizing character in her own right. The story of her childhood as the "root cause" for her unappealing traits is an oddly sociological, Oprah-istic formulation in a novel that is dominated by innocence and evil frankly declared.
Notwithstanding the overarching tragedy of the narrative, there is considerable humor of both the life-affirming and the splenetic varieties. On the other hand, Rushdie's proper English gentlemanliness creeps in occasionally in his disdain for those sullied by commerce or uniforms.
As someone who does not read a great deal of fiction, I was familiar with Rushdie only because of his unpopularity with the famous literary critic, Ayatollah Khomeini. I can see from Shalimar the Clown that I have been missing out on one of the most substantial literary talents of our time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good story about love and change. The personal story of each character allows the reader to approach the story unbiased. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Sophia
A wonderful novel dealing with terrorism and pop culture from my favorite novelist and one of the greatest minds and the biggest hero of the last 30 years. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Alexander M. Simon
Having enjoyed Satanic Verses and The Moors Last Sigh, I looked forward to another odyssey from Rushdie and was not disappointed. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Charles
It took me a while to make my way through this book, but it was well worth the time. Rushdie writes so elegantly that you can't rush through his prose. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Patricia Englin
I loved this book. The narrator does not do it justice but honestly I never really thought so before I read other reviews complaining about it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by average consumer
I had to get this book in the audio version to understand it. Then it made sense.Published 7 months ago by Murdoch_007
The book describes the plight of Kashmir in a great tragic love story. The way the entire story unfolds in between the situation in Kashmir is really gripping. Loves it.Published 10 months ago by Deepa Vaidyanathan