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The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The Satanic Verses (original 1988; edition 1989)

by Salman Rushdie

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7,661None438 (3.78)372
Title:The Satanic Verses
Authors:Salman Rushdie
Info:The Viking Press (1989), Hardcover, 560 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (1988)

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» See also 372 mentions

English (73)  Dutch (2)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (78)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
So, this was the best book I've read for a long time. I'm putting it down after one read, realizing that there's so much more to wring out of it. More importantly, I actually want to. Having little patience for weightier literature, this was a big deal for me. Highly recommend. ( )
  pdesjardins | Mar 4, 2014 |
The Satanic Verses was structured a fair bit like Max Havelaar. While naturally it's approached from quite a different perspective, it shares even a similar ironic, satirical tone. In short, both are worth reading for very different, yet related reasons.
  Frenzie | Feb 19, 2014 |
When this book was first published back in 1988, I was five, so all I know about the controversy is from what I picked in later years. Still, I know there were (are?) a lot of things going on about this book, so when I saw it at a thrift-store, I just had to pick it up to see what the fuss was about. Later on I found that this book could be classified as 'magical realism', one of my favorite genres, which made me pick it up from Mount TBR somewhat faster than usual.
It was hard for me to get into this story, because it took me a while to understand (enough, never completely) what was going on. We have our two main characters, two Indian men, Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha. Gibreel is a Bollywood actor in India, Saladin is a voice actor in England. They meet on a plane from India to London which crashes, with them falling down to earth and surviving. However Gibreel is or imagines himself to be the Archangel Gibreel, and Saladin is or is turning into a devil. For the archangel Gibreel we also see the flashbacks that he sees, of his visits to Mahound (Mohammed) when he is receiving his visions which are written in the koran. One of these visions is the source of the title of the book, the Satanic Verses.
The story was very confusing to me, and it took me a (long) while to get into it and enjoy the story. In the end though, I really enjoyed the story and the ideas of Rushdie in the book. I found it harder to write this review, to formulate my thought about the book, than reading and liking it. Four out of five stars. ( )
  divinenanny | Jan 26, 2014 |
Two Indian men, both leaving their old lives, miraculously survive an aeroplane bombing over England. During their fall to earth they experience an unusual change - one sprouting horns & the other a halo. The story of their "transformations", is also paralleled with "dream stories".
A most unusual, sometimes difficult to follow, always interesting, often humerous, and quite long story full of many layers. A book that could be read multiple times. ( )
  TheWasp | Oct 11, 2013 |
okay...well...that was one of the oddest reading experiences i have ever had. i can think of no other book (and i have been trying to think on this for a few days now) that had me loving it, laughing out loud, and kinda awed...but then also feeling mired down, slogging and not wanting to pick it back up. if i was a reader who quit on books...i would have thrown in the towel around the halfway point. my enchantment had sorely waned by then.

what's surprising to me is how much the majority of this book didn't work for me (70% of it) and yet i still feel like something awesome just went on. a couple of days ago, i decided this was a 3-star read for me. i didn't love it and i didn't loathe it. i was glad to finally be reading it and think it is a book people need to read. but last night...the ending just pulled me back to how i felt during the first section of the book and i was smitten all over again. you really had me all over the map with this one, mr. rushdie.

love, religion, politics, identity and belonging are giant, meaty subjects. a bit of magical realism thrown in raises questions...like, "wait, was that really magical realism?" or, "what is rushdie doing to my head??"

since i began reading this book, many people have told me it's a book they have shied away from, feeling intimidated by it. but, you shouldn't feel that way. i would think people who have some understanding of islam night have a different experience reading this than a person who has no knowledge of islam. so i would recommend you do a bit of reading on it before giving the satanic verses a whirl. at the very least, read about the satanic verses that had been part of the Qur'an but then later taken out. but, having said that, i did not find this novel dense or tough or overly complicated. so don't be afraid!

generally, i don't tend to do very well with magical realism. i have a hard time just going with the flow where this genre is concerned. i am way too full of 'yeah, but...' for my own good sometimes. what i liked about how rushdie used it here (or did he?? haha!) was how certain things could be explained in more than one way. so, because my brain is the way it is, being told in the story that gibreel was diagnosed as being paranoid schizophrenic, for instance, gave me more solid footing for that story line.

what i loved in the story:

* the butterflies. i mean...jeez.
* chamcha's story line with his father and how that came together in the end...JEEZ!!
* the humour

what didn't work so much for me:

* the flow was very clunky. i have now read and learned that many people criticized the book for being messy and disjointed. i don't feel this to be the case but it was not a smooth read. transitions from one scene or storyline to the next were jarring. i am not sure if that was to keep us on our toes or just poor editing?
* allie and gibreel - i found this an interesting story line but the ending was a huge disappointment. it felt like a tacked-on after-thought to me which kinda sucked given how much time we spent with them up until that point.

i read once that salman rushdie said novels do not lay down rules, but ask questions, and he claimed that by asking questions, good fiction can help to create a changed world.

i have no idea if he said this in the context of the satanic verses or if he was speaking generally. but i think if he came to write the satanic verses with this intent...he succeeded hugely. this book kinda doesn't follow any traditional rules. it's a bit of a post-modern mashup with post-colonialist fiction. it's satirical. it's funny. it's critical yet hopeful. and...and i don't use this word too often in relation to fiction...it's pretty epic. ( )
2 vote DawsonOakes | Sep 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
Talent? Not in question. Big talent. Ambition? Boundless ambition. Salman Rushdie is a storyteller of prodigious powers, able to conjure up whole geographies, causalities, climates, creatures, customs, out of thin air. Yet, in the end, what have we? As a display of narrative energy and wealth of invention, ''The Satanic Verses'' is impressive. As a sustained exploration of the human condition, it flies apart into delirium.

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Salman Rushdieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Capriolo, EttoreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emeis, MarijkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Häilä, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Satan, being thus confined to a vagabond, wandering, unsettled condition, is without any certain abode; for though he has, in consequence of his angelic nature, a kind of empire in the liquid waste or air, yet this is certainly part of his punishment, that he is... without any fixed place, or space, allowed him to rest the sole of his foot upon." ~ daniel defoe, the history of the devil
Dedicated to the individuals and organizations who have supported this publication.
First words
"To be born again " sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, "first you have to die."
If you live in the twentieth century you do not find it hard to see yourself in those, more desperate than yourself, who seek to shape it to their will.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A tale of two men/human angel and demon/amazing writing!  (ReadWriteLib)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312270828, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:41 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Gibreel Farishta, India's legendary movie star, and Saladin Chamcha, the man of a thousand voices, fall earthward from a bombed jet toward the sea, singing rival verses in an eternal wrestling match between good and evil.

(summary from another edition)

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