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The Satanic Verses
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The Satanic Verses > Final Thoughts *Spoilers*

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message 1: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
What are you final thoughts of the book


message 2: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
I really enjoyed this book at the start, but by the end of it I think I had a brain meltdown. After what seemed like the millionth dream sequence I had more questions that answers, I asked a friend to explain some of my questions about Islam and being an immigrant in a western culture. This helped a little to understand Rushdie a little better but I think in the end it just gave me more questions. While this was a good book with a lot to think about I think I might of enjoyed it more if I had a better understanding of the theology behind it.


Richard i read this ages ago when my wife was studying Banned / Controversial Books at uni and I was reading along. so apologies, i did not read it as part of this book group

What I felt after reading it was Rushdie had written it for a miniscule audience rather than any reader. I was with him until about midway into the book when it became a morass or blurred images and dreams and became unfathomable to me. I flat did not understand it. I read it to the end with online chapter guides and come the last page I simply thought "meh."

It did nothing for me, I saw no wonder in language, no panache or style. It was just a barrage of something but it gave me no insight into what.

I compare it with Disgrace by Coetzee, a furious novel about South Africa that, though it doesn't give answers does give a lucid view of life in SA for the older and younger white generations and the black generations. It does it succinctly (one third the length of Verses) and leaves meat for you to chew on for years. I still roll the book over and over in my head in wonder at it's brevity and impact and recommended it frequently.

Satanic spent hundreds of pages not reaching a point. Having also read Midnights Children I can honestly say Rushdie is not for me, i see no merit in his writing and as a reader if the writing is cluttered and sluggish then I am immediately repelled.

Coetzee is tight and impactful, Rushdie is unweildy and spoilt


Diana | 11 comments Michael wrote: "I really enjoyed this book at the start, but by the end of it I think I had a brain meltdown. After what seemed like the millionth dream sequence I had more questions that answers, I asked a friend..."

I can understand this point. I have read the Satanic Verses, after finishing a book about the islam and so I could understand parts about their symbols, their history and so on in the book, because Rushdie plays a lot with those. But I hope that you enjoyed it either way, because it's a masterpiece of magical realism... :-)


Andrea | 57 comments I finished The Satanic Verses last night. I feel like it is a "love it or hate it" book and I loved it. I used an excellent online guide to better understand the references and allusions as I read. I read the first third of the book before I found the guide and the last two-thirds were much easier because of the guide. I had very little knowledge of the Islamic faith and the guide gave me a good base for understanding the book. This was my first Rushdie novel, though I own at least two others. I found The Satanic Verses so enjoyable that I'm jazzed (there's a word I don't use nearly often enough) to get started on his other books.

I don't think I have read very much in the realm of magical realism, but I may start to now.


message 6: by M.L. (last edited Nov 03, 2012 04:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

M.L. | 309 comments I liked this a lot.
- universal themes - love, hate, jealousy, revenge, self rejection, human nature/foibles, often very humorous
Religious aspects - I was looking for the 'satanic verses' or what might be interpreted as irreverent
- the obvious one at the beginning when Mohammed ('Mahound') is temporarily deluded, and then corrects himself and refers to his earlier mistake as satanic verses
- using 'Mahound' throughout instead of Mohammed
- the Imam's calling for revolution and using a fellow named Baal as a mouthpiece - Baal being a 'false' god from earlier times, so an Imam speaking though a false god
- Baal again, this from earlier times, a poet who wrote offensive verses and hid out in a brothel, whereupon the 12 girls adopted the 12 names of Mohammed's wives (this for the fantasy aspects for their customers) with Baal being a surrogate Mohammed. (Baal himself, a little wimpy guy who was told to buff up to help disguise himself)
- Salman the scribe (interesting name) - deftly and intentionally changing Mohammed's direct words
- Osman, who converted to Islam not for faith reasons but because he thought he would be better off than he was as an 'untouchable' (even after the label change to children of god he still was not allowed near the well)
Dreams/visions - these were quite illuminating both from a story aspect and for showing how far gone Gibreel was in his insanity
Rushdie's writing - very inventive, very readable

Overall the tone was highly irreverent and more so because it was humorous. Fundamentalists in any religion do not like to be laughed at, it weakens their hold.

I thought the end was kind of abrupt, however, the abrupt ending literally put Gibreel out of agony, end of visions, end of torment. At the same time I could have done without the parts about Ayesha, didn't think they added much.

I guess it's thought of as magical realism but to me it was more satirical fiction and I think that is because of Gibreel's outright insanity.

Saladin's transformation - after the fall from the exploded plane he grows horns and hooves, then rids himself of them. But instead of changing, he nurses his betrayal, takes vengeance, and does not care about Allie Cone who becomes collateral damage in his revenge. To me this was an example of Rushdie's earlier statement, i.e., who needs demons when humans are capable of doing evil. So - divested of horns and hooves, Saladin's diabolical act is to nurse Gibreel's paranoid schizophrenia, knowing exactly what he is doing.
Saladin, the 'man of a 1000 voices', drives Gibreel crazier and humiliates Allie.

Upshot - Saladin's little rhymes with which he tormented them are the real satanic verses.
Later after the tragedies - and is Rushdie tongue in cheek or serious? - Saladin feels guilty - but he is given a 2d chance, being after all human. (It really was a 3rd chance; the 2d was surviving the fall.)
If Rushdie is tongue in cheek, ok. If serious, no, I don't think so. Saladin, with whom it was easy to sympathize as he went through his own humiliation looking like a satyr/demon, turns around and shows that is exactly his true nature. That he goes off into the sunset with the practical Zeeny is nice, but if Rushdie is truly letting him off the hook because he is 'human', I don't buy that.

Anyway! Very glad this was a club read.


Andrea | 57 comments You bring up some really interesting points Flash Beagle. I also found Rushdie's writing very humorous and witty. It didn't seem like there was much active participation from the group as a whole on this one, but I had been intending to read it for ages and I was also especially glad it was selected as a group read.


Marcy (Marshein) Sandyboy wrote: "i read this ages ago when my wife was studying Banned / Controversial Books at uni and I was reading along. so apologies, i did not read it as part of this book group

t did nothing for me, I saw no wonder in language, no panache or style. It was just a barrage of something but it gave me no insight into what.

I didn't read this for the group, since I'v eonly just gotten here--but I tried to read it a few months ago after reading Rushdie's memoir of his years living under the fatwa. I could not understand it. It seemed very disjointed, right from the beginning, with fantastical bits interspersed one after another. Years ago I tried reading another Rushdie novel, and I've decided this guy is definitely not for me.



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