Stanka's Reviews > The Satanic Verses

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
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Sep 06, 2007

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Read in December, 2007

I'm doing my best not to think "Here goes Rushdie again." I never read this one before although I read every other book he ever wrote. And now, to fill the gap, I am stuck with the last unread jewel, except that it's somehow lackluster because Salman doesn't age or accumulate well. I mean, the more you read him the more he sounds the same. And has this ever happened to you: that you discover in a writer just a wisp of too much wit and it's wit that bores you?
Yes, I'm reading on, with strange compulsive patience that some readers acquire... Maybe we think, it'll get better or it'll reach a moment when all the nonsense will have become justified.
And then, there is the miserable expository didactic style. You don't believe me? Ok, how about this: "Now, however, change had begun to feel painful; the arteries of the possible had begun to harden."
Arteries of the possible?!? No, really, is that writing?
Or this: "...she had no confidence at all, and every moment she spent in the world was full of panic, so she smiled and smiled and maybe once a week she locked the door and shook and felt like a husk, like an empty peanut-shell, a monkey without a nut."
A monkey without a nut? Now how exactly do you imagine such a character? And is she a husk or a monkey... Or is it both?
Amendment, if you'll allow me: finally, I reached the end and must say, almost despite myself, that it is worth the effort. What happens? Various disconnected and initially confusing strands of the story come together, more or less. There is, in any case, a feeling of wholeness and an idea that seems to animate it. And it is in this "main" idea that I recognize Rushdie and realize that he has always been faithful to himself. I think he tries, here as elsewhere, to address the question of faith, but in a sense much broader than the mere religious one. What does it mean to believe something so strongly that the fiction comes to be real or reality is denied and becomes a miracle? This question matters as much to literature as it does to religion and here the two overlap. This I find to be a very powerful achievement of The Satanic Verses: to ask you when and how you believe and what the consequences of that belief may be... Or when and how you don't believe and what the consequences of that unbelief may be... So my favorite aspect of the book: the steady, intricate focus on fiction -- its reality and its delusions.
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Reading Progress

05/07/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Shantha (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:25PM) (new)

Shantha Karthigesu I have to agree with you. I am reading it to understand what all the commotion was about when it was released. I am still reading, as you say, patiently, let's see where he takes it. :-)


message 2: by Stanka (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:25PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Stanka Where are you at? I have just reached Mahound section... I will stick with it, but it really makes me wonder: how does one get so much attention for so little skill?


message 3: by Joey (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joey i'm also reading this right now, and i do see the stylistic similarities with this and other rushdie, say, midnight's children. although i agree it gets confusing, some of the mixed-metaphors and chains-of-words, when taken apart from the big picture of being a part of a paragraph or chapter, sound like word-music. at least to the voice inside my head that i "listen" to as i read....

hell, it was good enough to earn him a fatwa award.


message 4: by Joey (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joey oh, your comments are from september. duh. i guess you've already finished this then....

er...

well, don't spoil the big rushdian apocalypse/climax for me.


message 5: by Shantha (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new)

Shantha Karthigesu Not really, its been on sitting there a long while now. I have read many other books in the meantime. You might be done with it before I am :-) Happy reading...well as happy as Rushdie lets you get.


message 6: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed it's only a book that nearly ended his writer's life


Irene A monkey without a nut? Now how exactly do you imagine such a character? And is she a husk or a monkey... Or is it both?

This is a play on words: In England peanuts are also called "monkey nuts". That's the problem with using a lot of colloquialisms. Half the time people have no idea what you're talking about.


Liberalviewer1 Quite an insightful analysis. Agreed. A bit boring and overbearing. Hated the beginning. Agree as well that the ending makes it almost worthwhile. Cheers.


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