No book in modern times has matched the uproar sparked by The Satanic Verses. Furore aside, it is a marvellously erudite study of good and evil.The book begins with two Indians plummeting from the sky after the explosion of their airliner, and proceeds through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations. Rushdie's powers of invention are astonishing in this Whitbread Prize winner.
©1988 Salmon Rushdie; (P)2009 WF Howes Ltd
Sam Dastor's wonderful performance--and with the many accents required, it's a performance, not just a reading--makes Salman Rushdie's writing come alive. The book itself is a modern classic, and so much has been said I can't add any more. I've owned a hardbound copy for years, but this is a novel that, like James Joyce's Ulysses, is even more vivid when heard than read. I could put the book down, and have frequently done so, but when it's playing on my iPhone, I just don't want to stop listening.
When this was first published I ignored it, but only recall having a bad disposition towards it based solely on the zeitgeist of my particular community at that time.
I was stupid to have ignored this work of prose for so long. Aside from being a wonderful farce, it contains so many gems of philosophical prose such as: "Our names meet, separate, and meet again, but the people going by the names do not remain the same." or : "The fall of angels, Gibreel reflected, was not the same kettle as the Tumble of Woman and Man. In the case of human persons, the issue had been morality. Of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they shouldst not eat, and ate. Woman first, and at her suggestion man, acquired the verboten ethical standards, tastily apple-flavoured: the serpent brought them a value system. Enabling them, among other things, to judge the Deity Itself, making possible in good time all the awkward inquiries: why evil? Why suffering? Why death? -- So, out they went. It didn't want Its pretty creatures getting above their station... -- Whereas the angels' crash was a simple matter of power: a straightforward piece of celestial police work, punishment for rebellion, good and tough "pour encourager les autres". -- Then how unconfident of Itself this Deity was, Who didn't want Its finest creations to know right from wrong; and Who reigned by terror, insisting upon the unqualified submission of even Its closest associates, packingoff all dissidents to Its blazing Siberias, the gulag- infernos of Hell. . ."
Those two diamonds of thought alone make this a stellar novel, and this book is filled with a great many more. Sam Dastor does a great job of painting the text into an audio picture. All in all marvelous.
English Lit BA highest honors UC Berkeley, 1974. Listening to books for pleasure or education is fun and it separates good writing from bad.
I am almost finished listening to this, but at this point I am completely blown away! Rushdie is great. The narrator is a man of many voices (just like Saladin Chumcha), and brings forth the comic, the serious, the seriously comic and the positively transcendent from the book. I am both vastly entertained, amused and inspired.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
Frankly I listened to this because of the controversy it inspired. I was quite disappointed. It tries (perhaps too hard) to be a great novel. Maybe it is just cultural differences, but I did not find the characters compelling and I did not find the humor particularly funny. At times it is mildly amusing, at times almost interesting, sometimes it tried really hard to be incisive. The depiction of Mohammad is quite fictionalized and unflattering, but no more so than countless depictions of Jesus or Moses. Note a very good book, but the author certainly does not deserve anything worse than few bad reviews.
yes, if you enjoy rushdie
it's not about favorites. it's about the interplay of characters and events
this is a brilliant book but needs to be read or listened to slowly and savoured like a good wine
I liked moments of this novel and there is some nice writing, but when all is said and done I had a little trouble piecing it all together and ultimately caring what happened to characters. I am glad I tried it to see what it was all about but this is now my 6th or so Rushdie and I like him less each time. There is some nice wordplay that made me want to go to Nabokov again, (who does it better) and there is some nice "magical realism" which made me hope that Marquez will show up on audible some day (marquez does it better). Overall I think Rushdie tries too hard. Moor's Last Sigh is my favorite of his but it's not available yet, and I hope it holds up on a 2nd reading when the time comes. It may be that I suffered a little being 1 step removed from the Islamic faith and references, and a 2nd step removed from the Indian history and politics and so just couldn't get as much out of this as I should. A friend listened at same time and we discussed as we went and he had much the same response. Not saying don't try it, but I think this is a cultural thing and I just don't have the background necessary for 100% enjoyment.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
This book achieved infamy because of course of the fatwa. What all the news stories managed to leave out is that this is a very funny book. The news stories also managed to leave the impression that the book is all about making fun of Muhammed. That's not what the book is about at all. It's an attempt to convey the experience of the expatriate Indian/Pakistani experience in England. Rushdie approaches this subject with a boundless supply of creative imagination. It is complex, interwoven, genre-bending, but ultimately rewarding if you can give it the attention and focus it deserves.
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 am not sure why this book got a Fatwa issued on the author. I didn't think it was even that great. His other works are much better. The story was ok, but I guess I was expecting more considering the hype.
I can't believe I let this sit in my library for so long! Sadly, when I downloaded this it was pretty much the same time as midnight's children and I did not care for that performance..was a different actor.. this art of recording books is a fine fine art - the space between uninspired and overdone is razor thin and now I have a new artist to love! The reading is perfect Thank u Sam Dastor u are now on the list of artists I download stuff I have never heard of just cuz u read it - think Lenny Henry reading Anansi Boys- it makes me sad that Rushdie chose not to embrace "fantasy writing" - because tis an excellent fantasy story - to me anyway- I can't see why anyone who likes Neil Gaiman wouldnt love this. Dont let the lables and the fuss get in the way and let this story use magic to let you see the world u live in anew
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