Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Report

The Satanic Verses
Salman Rushdie


I have a very dirty secret involving why it took me so long to read this book. Is it because I have a hard time with Rushdie's prose? Oh my no - it goes down like a rainbow flavored snow cone dolloped with an odd dash of spices guaranteed to keep you hooked all the way to the last drop. Is it because I had issues understanding the various parables and the confoundry of a guy thinking he is the Angel Gibreel, while maybe actually being the angel Gibreel. Nah-uh, fantasy intersects with reality more than most people are comfortable believing. Did I find his female characters unappealing? Nope, Rushdie comes up with some of the strongest, most complex and real female characters out there (Alleluia Cone immediately comes to mind, with her fallen arches, and conflicting obsessions).

My dirty secret is that I have been using this book as a polling point for Thursday nights at a local neighborhood eatery. Because I have never had a night there when I was reading it, and someone did not have something to say about it.

The hilarious thing is that everyone who had something to say about it, had not actually read the book. They just know about the fatwah.

"Oh, is that the book where he had to go into hiding after it was published?"

"Yeah, do you know why that is?"

And therein lies my guilt, as I began examining the various ideas of just why that is from my friendly neighborhood barflies. This is what they came up with:

Rushdie likes men.

Nope, way too many hot chick notches under his belt.

Rushdie was calling for the assassination of the ayatollah of Iran.

Nope, it ended up being the other way around.

Rushdie discovered a new section of the Koran where women had equal rights.

Kind of ... but not really.

I held a vast sense of superiority over these people, being as I was actually reading the book. But when I turned the last page and closed it, I realized I really had no idea either.

So, I had to wikipedia it. And the answer was so obvious, I completely missed it. Apparently some Muslims take their religion super seriously. So much for my literary acumen. Ah well.

It was not an effort wasted. Although not as fluid and nonstop as Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses still offered up a vareity of gems, anecdotes, fables, legends and occasionally Shakespearean-styled comedies of errors (with Shakespeare nicely credited for that effort). I must read that I'm glad I must did read.

Now, onto something new to poll the Thursday night crew with.

2 comments:

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

I've read before why it was considered so offensive but I probably forgot about five minutes later. Basically what I got from it is that Muslim fundies are batshit insane, much like Christian ones.

Star Kicker said...

Yep, that's it. Rushdie is surprisingly graspable.