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The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
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The Satanic Verses (original 1988; edition 1989)

by Salman Rushdie

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7,87282423 (3.77)414
Member:danamonty
Title:The Satanic Verses
Authors:Salman Rushdie
Info:The Viking Press (1989), Hardcover, 560 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (1988)

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English (76)  Dutch (3)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (82)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
I'm giving this four stars because I acknowledge the importance of what this book has to say. The importance does not outweigh the fact that Rushdie does the "oh look how badly they treat women they must be bad!" dance while amassing almost a dozen girlfriends in the refrigerator and a couple personas whose bad ass character definition is completely subsumed by their (male) lover's plot lines, but stands alongside it, equally worthy of mention. It's a balancing of my importance as a self with my importance as an idea, something that men the world over could learn something from. Intersectionality does not dampen your critical thinking skills; solipsism does. And when it comes to gynephobia or any other ideological oppression, solipsism kills.

Mahound, any new idea is asked two questions. When it's weak: will it compromise? We know the answer to that one. And now, Mahound, on your return to Jahilia, time for the second question: How do you behave when you win? When your enemies are at your mercy and your power has become absolute: what then?

The main reason why I think this book deserves to be read is because while Rushdie does fall into authorial/political traps in regards to women, he does so while deconstructing the very power structures that propagate those traps. It's not a matter of "I did my best and no one should criticize me" feel-good stagnancy, nor a philosophical degeneration into nonentity that likes to pretend privilege is not a thing, but a real look at the compromises we live by in the societal boundaries of good and evil. This angry and messy view of things is particular important when considering the book, its history, and the particular reader I am, an atheist woman who grew to adulthood in the wake of 9/11. I have my own issues due to my identity, but I'll never be thought a terrorist.

Emboldened by the lights and the patient, silent lens, he goes further. These kids don't know how lucky they are, he suggests. They should consult their kith and kin. Africa, Asia, the Caribbean: now those are places with real problems. Those are places where people might have grievances worth respecting. Things aren't so bad here, not by a long chalk; no slaughters here, no torture, no military coups. People should value what they've got before they lose it. Ours always was a peaceful land, he says. Our industrious island race.

I know people died for the sake of this book, I know people died for the sake of my country's obsessions with security and military industrial complex as a direct result of Islamophobia, and I know how easy it would be to use one to excuse the other. It's the same parsed feeling when Rushdie writes about current events in Ferguson twenty-six years before in fiction form, and then goes on to comment how the martyr of his particular story had a history of abusing women that does not receive coverage for the sake of solidarity. What's important here is how little confidence there is in regards to the "right" answer to all this, how Rushdie handles the choice between in such a way that the good and the bad of each are readily apparent and always in metamorphosis. Much like Murakami, I found myself questioning my own beliefs not because of how characters I had identified with had suffered, but due to the genuine interest the author had in questioning the lines of good and evil and what that all meant for our effort to live. Both of them have issues with writing female characters, but the "worth reading" quality is high enough to merit a pass.

Allie had a way of switching from the concrete to the abstract, a trope so casually achieved as to leave the listener half-wondering if she knew the difference between the two; or, very often, unsure as to whether, finally, such a difference could be said to exist.

If I can do it, so can you. Personal offence does not impress me when lives are on the line, and that goes for any and all lives. ( )
3 vote Korrick | Oct 23, 2014 |
I tried to read this book and could not get into it but then I listened to it on audible and loved it. Somehow listening to it made it understandable and enhanced the humor and the beauty of the language. I had already read (on paper) Midnight's Children and enjoyed that; so I was used to the writing style and the sense of humor. I found some of the sentences in Satanic Verses the most beautiful I have read anywhere. I think his characters are hilarious and his depictions of the shifts in personality between the two main characters is thought provoking. I think Rushdie has a deep understanding of human nature and the nature of human relationships and is able to represent these with the humor that pervades life. I have been to India and lived among Indians so I appreciate, and to some extent understand the Indian culture (although I was born in the US). I can see how some of the references would be lost on the typical non-Indian reader. I think many of the humorous references may be lost on one who is not very familiar with Indian culture. So the Satanic Verses has many aspects that may make it difficult and not enjoyable. That said, I found it wonderful and listened to it on audible three times liking it better and finding it funnier each time. ( )
  padmajoy | Sep 8, 2014 |
I really liked the beginning of the novel, but it does get kind of gross and weird- not for the faint-hearted. Well written, engaging, terrifying. You can see why it was banned. ( )
  Inky500 | Jun 14, 2014 |
Ok, I'll admit, this is the second book of Rushdie's I've hacked my way through, & while this one was more tolerable than the last one I read, it was every bit as conflicting & confusing. The characters were more caricatures than characters, & I found it very hard to identify with them. While the general premise of the book, 2 men falling out of the sky after their plane is blown up by terrorists & miraculously surviving is interesting, I found the rest of the book, about their transformations into one, a form of the archangel Gabriel, while the other transforms into a strange satyr like creature, reminiscent of the Christian view of the Devil, but based more correctly on the even older representation of the Nature god Pan, extremely odd. All of this overlaid with the sublife of the Indian culture in England, and the Hindi mythos, left me wondering what the hell the author was REALLY striving to say. I certainly saw NOTHING Satanic about this book, & saw no reason for him to have had death threats placed against him when the book first came out. All in all, it was just weird ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (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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Epigraph
"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
Dedication
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."
Quotations
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)

"Dean Fletcher had spent virtually all his twenty-four years doing things practically guaranteed to land him in trouble. But not until he fell for a blonde nymphet named Kayleigh Scott did he manage to totally ruin his life. Kayleigh had told him she was eighteen. In truth she was not quite thirteen, and poor Dean was soon off to prison, a convicted sex offender, still smitten with his adolescent lover." "Now he's finally free again, only to be ensnared by two crimes that have Lloyd pulling out what's left of his hair. One is an infant kidnapping (the child was born within hours of Lloyd's and Judy's own baby, Charlotte); the other is the murder of Kayleigh's mother, Lesley, on the very eve of the family's sudden move to Australia.". "Fortunately, Lloyd thinks he hears the ring of truth in Dean's declarations of innocence. He is extremely curious about Lesley's new lover, Ian, who has jumped headfirst into another relationship, and her old lover, Phil, whose world she had destroyed. And for all her air of placid innocence, Kayleigh herself isn't above suspicion." "With Judy out on maternity leave, Lloyd is obliged to pick his way alone through the minefield of birth, death, murder, and domestic evil."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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