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Shalimar the Clown

Narrated by: Aasif Mandvi
Length: 18 hrs and 2 mins
4 out of 5 stars (517 ratings)

Regular price: $27.99

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Publisher's Summary

From Salman Rushdie, New York Times best-selling author, Booker Prize-winner, and one of the great voices in contemporary literature, comes a majestic novel that solidifies the author's right to a Nobel Prize, which Kirkus Reviews says "he deserves more than any other living writer".

When Maximilian Ophuls is murdered outside his daughter's home by his Kashmiri Muslim driver, it appears to be a political killing. Ophuls is the former U.S. ambassador to India and America's leading figure in counter-terrorism. But there is much more to Ophuls and his assassin, a mysterious man calling himself "Shalimar the Clown", than meets the eye. One woman is at the center of their shared history, a history of betrayal and deception that moves from World War II Europe to the troubled Kashmir region to contemporary America.

Rushdie effortlessly weaves a series of interconnected narratives to form a sweeping and ambitious tale, at once timeless and startlingly modern, that reaches back through the years and across the continents.

©2005 Salman Rushdie (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

  • 2005 Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award, Fiction

"Shalimar the Clown is a powerful parable about the willing and unwilling subversion of multiculturalism." (Publishers Weekly)
"If Rushdie cannot make you see and smell and feel the loveliness of life in Kashmir, he does, finally, make a commanding story of its loss." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A masterly deployment of interconnected narratives spanning six decades....Dazzling....A magical-realist masterpiece." (Kirkus Reviews)
"A cogent descriptor of Rushdie's sheer and magnificent talent. His beautifully metaphoric language and sly sense of humor keep his complex plot, with its layers of personal and cosmic meaning, tightly woven." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Barry
  • Gideon, MO, USA
  • 12-07-05


I've been working my way through all of Salman Rushdie's works, and this latest book in an incredible read or listen. Like all of his works, Rushdie delves heavily into parallel dimensions, west/east, past/present, male/female, but also manages to tell a tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat for most of the second half of the book. I was particularly impresed by the ending - well done, Mr. Rushdie!

Also worth noting is that the narrator does an excellent job, and his accent and delivery do a great deal to smooth out sections that would otherwise be difficult to western ears.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • JOHN
  • Plantation, FL, United States
  • 06-06-09

Complex, Exotic, Suspenseful

I have never read Rushdie before but now I am beginning to understand his popularity. This book begins with a murder and then proceeds to fill in with backstory of extreme detail. It is this story in Kashmir that I found to be, at first, somewhat daunting. The names, words, customs and history were very foreign and a bit difficult to wrap my mind around. However, after hanging in there I became more comfortable with it and began to understand and get very involved. By the second half of the story I was hooked. The story kept me on the so-called "edge of my seat" to the last line.
The writing is excellent and has a supernatural quality. The narration was perfect, considering all of the foreign words and accents required.
Excellent, although not for everyone.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Timely story of Kashmir, the Pak-Indio argument

I'vr never read Rushdie before, and wasn't sure what to expect. Lovely prose, with detailed embroidery, sometimes interfered with the movement of the story but usually swept me along. The reader was fine, though some consistent mispronounciations were irritating (camino "ray-al" was replaced with camino "reel," for instance). All-in-all enjoyable, and it really shed some light on the battle over Kashmir. The earthquake coverage is far more meaningful having read this book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • Warwick, NY, USA
  • 03-08-06


This is a masterpiece of fiction, from one of the greatest living writers. But what also made this a wonderful listen was the masterful reading by Aasif Mandvi. This cannot have been an easy book to narrate, but Mandvi could not have been more perfect. The range of voices he used, and the appropriateness of each one was just perfect. All in all it kept me engrossed for many hours. A great book and reading!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars


This is the first book that I've heard/read by Salman Rushdie. I had no sense of his writing capabilities and found myself floored by the beauty of the writing and the epic nature of the story. He flawlessly mixed fact and fiction to create a bold story of high emotional content. It did take a while to get my head adjusted to the complexities of the story and the writing style, but I ultimately became so attached to the book that I was sad to reach the end.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • Providence, RI, USA
  • 03-19-07

A Driveway Moment

The thing grabbed me and would not let go. It may sound trite, but "gripping" is the word that comes to mind most forcefully. I found myself making up excuses to go on errands, so that I could listen to it while driving. I know that is not legal everywhere, but it was worth the risk. When I neared the end I had to park in a driveway for some time and finish listening. Rushdie never let up. Five minutes before the end I was still being surprised and astonished.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Rushdie at his best

This is a brilliant and moving book. Its beautifully crafted sentences will dazzle you, its wonderful characters will surprise you and hold you rapt, and its plot will move you now to tears now to laughter. All this while you are being taught the politics of the fight over Kashmir through the lives of people in the tiny village of Pachigam and the metropolis of Los Angeles.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bocaboy
  • Boca Raton, FL USA
  • 02-29-08

Great listen

WOW! This was my first Rushdie book, but not my last. This is a great story, with lots of background that helped give the characters real depth. I'm not a fan of airplane books, so unlike some of those user reviews that criticized the backstory, I loved the fact that Rushdie took the time to flush out these characters, in depth. If you like a good story, with a foreign culture to add some real color to the tale, you'll really like this book.

The narration was excellent, not too characterized, but enough that it gave real depth to the story.

Highly recommended.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars


I can't think of a better way to spend money than to buy this book--it is masterful, intelligent and provides considerable insight into culture and the development of terrorism, extremism and civil strife. As always, Rushdie is entertaining and understanding in matters of the human heart.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Angie
  • Kansas City, MO, United States
  • 06-15-08

Very good book

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful