Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Satanic Verses (by Salman Rushdie)

Okay here’s the thing. About Rushdie. The guy is clearly a genius. It’s Joycean wordplay plus magical realism plus a bold, mythic originality that is his alone. And yet, like Midnight’s Children, this book left me emotionally unmoved and vaguely irritated.

I have come to the conclusion that he is simply Not My Thing. I can find no reason not to enjoy him, yet I don’t. I find his playfulness tiresome, the magical and mythical elements confusing, and his characters annoying. I just can’t let go and get into the poetry of it and love it the way I know I should. (However, he does make an allusion to Pale Fire in this book. Which is a surefire way to win my heart a tiny bit.)

I can’t say this book isn’t great; it’s great. It’s deservedly a classic. It’s a wonderful book to study and think about, and poses major questions. What is the nature of evil? What is the nature of divinity, of humanity, of prophecy? You may like it; you may very well love it. But I personally am glad to be done with Rushdie.

"The anger with God carried him through another day, but then it faded and in its place there came a terrible emptiness, an isolation, as he realized he was talking to thin air, that there was nobody there at all and then he felt more foolish than ever in his life and he began to plead into the emptiness, ya Allah, just be there, damn it, just be." (Page 30)


Blogger K said...

At least you have done with Rushdie. He is on the list of writers I feel I ought to have read, but am somehow not tempted by. Not remotely.

8:26 AM  

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