Stephanie W's Reviews > East, West

East, West by Salman Rushdie
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Apr 25, 2012

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bookshelves: book-club, fiction, short-stories

This was my first time ever reading anything by Salman Rushdie. It was a collection of nine stories focussing on the East, the West, and bridging the gap between the two. The first three stories covering the East were set in India and offered more "slice of life" accounts with slight amounts of magical realism in "The Prophet's Hair". The West section of stories offered more post-modern readings that were thematically based instead of plot and character driven. To an extent, some of these stories felt overworked and disconnected while portraying the West and colonialism as corrupt and materialistic.

The final section "East, West" provided the most complex stories with the most complex characters who wrestled with their identity as both Indian and a British citizen. Rushdie turns the common ideas of Orientalism on its head in the story "Harmony of Spheres" when he juxtaposes an Indian man with British manners to a schizophrenic Welsh man who practices occultism and the magic normally associated with the East.

It was a fully interesting read, but I feel that Rushdie's work was more compelling when he was writing simple, slice of life accounts.
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