Posts Tagged ‘Salman Rushdie’

24th March
2010
written by Tony

Good book, ugly, ugly cover.

“‘To be born again,’ sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, ‘first you have to die.’” These are the first words in a book that manages at once to confound expectations and be more than simply infamous. I must confess that I knew next to nothing about this book when I picked it up and I brought it home — if nothing more — for the novelty of having that book. You know the one. The one that made the Muslims so mad. The book that killed 40 people and put a, now irrevocable, fatwa into existence calling for all good Muslims to kill or, if unable to do so themselves, direct others to kill, anyone associated with this book. It’s a book that you feel a little nervous reading, say, on an airplane. Or in public. It has a stigma attached to it that is hard to get away from. It’s a book that sent its author into hiding for nearly a decade. I expected this book to be challenging on nearly every level. Something that could cause so much hate had to be either a blinding work of secular clarity and religious disavowal, or so basic and insulting that no one could read it and not feel tainted. In a way, it was neither. The language is stunningly accessible, and at times is almost sing-songy. If you’ve ever watched a Bollywood movie you’ll understand the verbal melody that Indian English becomes, how nearly everything becomes an idiom and the nonsense forms a meaning outside of accepted bounds. This is that feeling, put onto paper. Tune up the sitar and put on the hand cymbals and you could sway your hips in time with the writing. (more…)