melydia's Reviews > The Satanic Verses

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
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it was ok

This is a very strange story that took me a very long time to read. In a nutshell, it is about Gibreel Farishta, a famous Indian movie star who may or may not be turning into the archangel Gabriel, and Saladin Chamcha, an Indian voice actor living in London who may or may not be turning into Satan. Much of the book is also devoted to the story-within-a-story of Gibreel's dreams, which take place in numerous locations and time periods. There is a much discussion of religion, politics, and society without taking a clear stance on anything. The story begins with Gibreel and Saladin falling through the air after the airplane they were on was blown up by terrorists, so you know it's going to be one trippy experience.

I have pretty mixed feelings about this one. The story was reasonably satisfying, but I think I would have gotten a lot more out of it were I more familiar with the Qu'ran and Indian society. It was also a bit difficult to get into because of the writing style: Rushdie displayed a fondness for overly long, run-on sentences and a disdain for paragraph breaks, especially where dialogue is concerned. The primary reason I finished this book at all is because I read somewhere that it is one of the most commonly started-but-not-finished books of all time (though how that is measured is beyond me). This isn't a very good reason to read a book, especially one you know you are not fully understanding. I wouldn't say it was a waste of time - I enjoyed some of the characters, especially the maddening Gibreel - but I do believe there are other books I would have enjoyed more during the month it took me to finish reading this one.
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