Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.
I really liked this book. I Liked how it jumped between the past and the present. I liked how the author took these people from all over the globe and at different periods through history and told each of their stories as they set on a collision course toward colliding with each other many many years later. I highly recommend it.
I was bowled over by this book. Loved all the amazing historical details. This is an author who has done his homework. Mr Rushdie managed to make me sympathetic to all the characters in spite of their conflicting stories. So much tragedy. So little hope.
I am in a third of the way into this and am about to give up. I have just not gotten into the characters and all of the background history. Keeping the characters straight is difficult. There is almost no dialog and the plot is very slow paced.
I appreciated how the author makes a significant historical conflict come alive by telling anecdotes of "real" people. We see how a community of Muslims and Hindus, who got along together in the Kashmir, were ripped apart by radicals and extremists from both sides. We witness the slow, insidous divisions that infiltrate, and how people are pushed into brutality by events.
The conflict over Kashmir is an important phenomenon, since it involves two nuclear powers.
However, the characters are not likeable. India Oeffals, Max Oeffals, Shalimar, Bunyi Kohl, are all self-absorbed personalities with not much to endear them to us. I need to like the characters in order to be absorbed in a novel and appreciate it. Rushdie's writing is good craftsmanship. Ultimately we endure the characters rather than getting involved with them.
Bottom line, I enjoyed the read.
I have to dissent from the majority opinion. I found both major and minor characters completely lacking in interest, and Rushdie never really lets you view inside their heads or peer into their souls. Amb. Ophals is a multinational Renaissance Man (he's rich! he's handsome! he's charming! He holds degrees in economics and law! and multiple passports! oh, and he paints like Matisse!) who happens to be a scoundrel where women are concerned, but his character is one-dimensional throughout, and the alleged charm & intellect never quite come through. His affinity for India and the Kashmir issue materializes out of nowhere, simply becoming another addition to his stellar resume. One day he is running the affairs of Europe, the next day he is advising Indira Gandhi on how to run HER country. His daughter, also named India, is likewise lacking in depth and sympathy: her first thought upon seeing her father's bleeding body is to worry about the mess the housekeeper will have to clean. Where critics see a wonderful multicultural allegories, I just see contrived and random events all of which serve to underscore that Ophals can't keep it in his pants. If you're looking for a great read and a love poem to India, I'd highly recommend, instead, Shantaram, which is also available on Audible.
From the first sentence to the last, this book is a masterpiece. It's fascinating, perfectly paced, gorgeously written, and was a pleasure to listen to. After the book was finished, I contemplated for several days the depth of genius Rushdie must possess. It is a perfect novel- an enchanting spell that takes a while to wake from. Amazing!
From California to Europe to India, this book relates the story of Kashmir with human, even super-human characters. The imagery and symbolism are magnificent, both in horror and beauty. The narrator was up to the task and handled multiple accents very well.
After 33 minutes of listening, I turned it off because I'm not interested in the crude, sexual references ("Do you take it in the ass?") and I can only guess that it continues throughout the book. The description of the book should include the highly sexualized nature of the character, India, and the kind of language that is used. I'm listening to this in my office at work and it's just not something I want coming out of my speakers, plus, it's just not what I was expecting or that I wanted to listen to.
Never got there.
There is probably a very good story here and no doubt Salman Rushdie is a talented wordsmith but I had no idea his writing, or at least this book, was sexually explicit. Just not what I was looking for and now my monthly subscription fee has been wasted.
Aasif Mandvi brought Rushdie's book alive. Having already read many of Rushdie's books I was reticent to listen to one thinking it would not have the same feeling. I was happy to find that Mandvi was an addition to the telling. The story has all the best of a Rushdie story, humor, irony, history and human drama told with wit and insight. It is the one audio book I have listened to more then once. If Mandvi narrated all his books I would purchase them all again in audio format just here him read them.