Rushdie's ability to merge diverse cultural, religious, historical, mythological and political references into a seamless, witty narrative is nothing short of brilliant. He's witty, engaging, and has a real facility with language. This book is a real joy to read. But if you're looking for character studies (as opposed to cultural studies), this book isn't for you. The main characters are strangely inaccessible, remote, and hard to relate to. It's difficult to warm up to any of them. The story starts to fizzle and drag toward the end. But character development and plot aren't the reasons to read Rushdie. So bottom line for me: Brilliant, but TOO LONG.