- Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (March 11, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812976711
- ISBN-13: 978-0812976717
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (482 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Satanic Verses: A Novel Paperback – March 11, 2008
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No book in modern times has matched the uproar sparked by Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, which earned its author a death sentence. Furor aside, it is a marvelously erudite study of good and evil, a feast of language served up by a writer at the height of his powers, and a rollicking comic fable. The book begins with two Indians, Gibreel Farishta ("for fifteen years the biggest star in the history of the Indian movies") and Saladin Chamcha, a Bombay expatriate returning from his first visit to his homeland in 15 years, plummeting from the sky after the explosion of their jetliner, and proceeds through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations. Rushdie's powers of invention are astonishing in this Whitbread Prize winner. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Banned in India before publication, this immense novel by Booker Prize-winner Rushdie ( Midnight's Children ) pits Good against Evil in a whimsical and fantastic tale. Two actors from India, "prancing" Gibreel Farishta and "buttony, pursed" Saladin Chamcha, are flying across the English Channel when the first of many implausible events occurs: the jet explodes. As the two men plummet to the earth, "like titbits of tobacco from a broken old cigar," they argue, sing and are transformed. When they are found on an English beach, the only survivors of the blast, Gibreel has sprouted a halo while Saladin has developed hooves, hairy legs and the beginnings of what seem like horns. What follows is a series of allegorical tales that challenges assumptions about both human and divine nature. Rushdie's fanciful language is as concentrated and overwhelming as a paisley pattern. Angels are demonic and demons are angelic as we are propelled through one illuminating episode after another. The narrative is somewhat burdened by self-consciousness that borders on preciosity, but for Rushdie fans this is a splendid feast. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; first serial to Harper's; BOMC alternate; QPBC alternate; author tour.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a story of good vs. evil and how mixed-up the two can be. It is a story of visions and miracles. It is the story of violence and peace. It is the story of faith and unbelief. It is the story of the supernatural and insanity. It is the story of life and death.
The book is written in what is called a "frame structure." That is, it is a story within a story. The main story focuses on two Indian men, Gibreel and Saladin (bold, undisguised symbols for the Archangel Gabriel and the devil), who are the only survivors after a bomb detonates an airplane midair over England; they survive by flapping their arms and flying to the ground. And if that's not too unbelievable for you, wait until you get to the story within the story: the many fantastical visions and dreams of Gibreel. Several of these dreams are apocryphal tales about Mahound (another name for the prophet Mohammad), another features a radical imam, whom Rushdie has confirmed is based on the Ayatollah Khomeini--the one who issued the fatwa after the book was published--and another is the fantastical pilgrimage to Mecca of an entire village as they are trailed by thousands of butterflies. It is primarily these parts of the book of which radical Islam takes exception.
This may be a difficult book to read, but it's an important one--especially for our times. Written almost three decades ago, it resonates perfectly with the strained, violent age in which we now live. For example, here are two of the primary themes of the book that are absolutely relevant to today:
1.) Radical Islam's demand to utterly and violently (attempt to) destroy the old in order to create a new order.
2.) The feeling of immigrants of always being the outsider or the "other" and never fully belonging and how that leads to rage and potential violence.
As strange as this may sound considering what I have just written, the book is in many ways downright funny--and very sexy! Rushdie gets his political points across but has fun doing it. And besides that, it's a good story. He can tell a tale that keeps the reader fully engaged.
An aside: Salmon Rushdie has a vocabulary unlike any author I have ever encountered. I found the Kindle dictionary feature extraordinarily useful!
With great anticipation and trepidation, I dove into this absolutely fascinating and surreal story written in the frame narrative format. For the average person, the surrealism, cultural, historical, religious context and vocabulary will make it a challenging read. One has to know the Indian Muslim culture in India, the anglicised Indians in England, the life of the Prophet Mohammed and the Koran to fully enjoy this rather complex comical book of satires. It took some getting used to with Rushdie's literary and linguistic style. After that it was just a joy to read.