Aug 31, 08
Read in August, 2008
Always clever, usually erudite and often sharply politico-comical, Rushdie got death threats for this whimsical interrogation and interweaving of myths and themes and contradictions from Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Judaism. He probably had more from other faiths that I just didn't catch. Rushdie manages to get various characters -- real and (perhaps) imagined -- to coexist, or be teleported to new eras and let them have at it.
The result is a social and political essay in the form of interwoven stories, deeply critical of empire and racism along with religious extremism -- yet manages to tip his hat in respect to the mystical. I mean, really ... if people die believing truly in whatever utopian afterlife they've been promised, can it be anything but real? And to whom does that matter? Filled with ideas about truth and happiness, dogma and modernity, it's ultimately a call to love and forgiveness.
Pretty simple after all, huh?
I think I would have gotten more into the book if I were more familiar with Islamic and Hindu stories, and I found myself more engaged by the latter 2/3 of the book, as his characters become more, um, human, I guess.