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The Satanic Verses: A Novel Paperback – March 11, 2008
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That being said, I noticed that many reviewers here say they do not find the book offensive to Moslems, while simultaneously admitting their own lack of knowledge regarding Islam. As a fairly well-versed Moslem, I can impartially state that Rushdie repeatedly criticizes, and even ridicules, the Islamic faith, in ways both subtle and overt, throughout this entire book.
Did Rushie's criticism bother me? Not at all. Did it justify a Fatwa by the Ayatollah? Of course not. But can the book be reasonably interpreted as being offensive to some Moslems? Those who know the Islamic faith would be hard-pressed to argue otherwise.
Nevertheless, realizing that this is just a work of fiction by a gifted novelist, I enjoyed reading the book and recommend it to all my friends.
Many readers have been drawn to this novel by the provocative controversy which surrounds it. If you're reading Satanic Verses looking for a shocking denouncement you will likely be disappointed. Unless you're a scholar of the Islamic faith you likely won't understand what all the fuss is about.
I read this novel over ten years ago and have re-read it in bits and pieces many times since. Aside from the imaginative interwoven plot the most compelling feature of Verses is Rushdie's amazing lyrical writing style. Love him or hate him Rushdie is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant authors writing in the English language, and practically every section of prose could be enjoyed on it's own independent of the story. There is more word-play and double meanings is Verses than you could find in a dozen readings; every time you read a chapter you'll find something new.
Aside from a general interest in the various religions of the world I profess no great knowledge of the Koran, therefore undoubtedly there is symbolism in Verses that I missed/didn't understand. Some elements of this book that won't be accessible for the lay reader. But based purely on its creativity and masterful prose this book is a worthwhile, entertaining, and challenging read.
(A background note: Satanic Verses was the first Rushdie novel I read, and I promptly fell in love with his work. I subsequently read The Moor's Last Sigh and East West, and promptly feel right back out of love. Satanic Verses was the novel that Rushdie was born to write; in his lyrical prose, humor, and surrealistic mix of realism with the fantastic he creates an amazing work of art. Nothing he has written comes close. Unless you're a die-hard Rushdie fan, a scholar of Indian society and the interrelation between East and West simply read this novel and skip the rest.)
This is not to say that the book does not have plenty of subtle and intertwined criticisms and twists on the Islamic faith. To understand these moments in the book the reader does need a fairly large knowledge of Islam. There aren't direct and pointed attacks, they are more so the settings of scenes, the ruminations of characters (particularly Salman the Persian). Many of these episodes which display twists on early Islamic history are presented as in a dream by a crazed Indian actor, Gibreel Farishta. So Rushdie never goes so far as to suggest that any of these sequences is even possibly true.
But to balance the above, are moments where faith and willing suspension of disbelief courageously overcome and succeed. Magical experiences which suggest that those who mock religion are actually the fools.
Rushdie's writing style can be a bit difficult, but once you get used to it, its very melodic and rich. The reader gets the feeling that Rushdie never rushes (!) his prose; there is never a hurried sense to his narrative. Aside from religious content, sex and violence are topics that are, if not explicitly detailed out, present continually through the book. The book isn't for easily disturbed readers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Highly skilled and witty writing that is pointless and interminable.Published 9 days ago by firstname.lastname@example.org
This book is a real warning against making laws under the cover of the war on terror that will jeopardize all human rights, and create a police state.Published 18 days ago by Ingrid Roessel
I am very happy to have had a chance to read this long, funny, sad, yet beautiful novel. I wish if they can make a movie or a comic version of it. Nninoss.comPublished 1 month ago by Ninos Youkhana
Unless you have a good knowledge of modern day India and Islam you will not understand the story, and even with these understandings the story is slow-paced, confusing dribble,... Read morePublished 1 month ago by CAP