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- This is not a site for polemics about the novel or the “Rushdie Affair”. To many Western1 readers The Satanic Verses appears as a brilliant attack on religious bigotry. To many Muslims, East and West, it appears as a vicious series of insults to many of their most cherished beliefs. There are other positions: liberal and conservative non-Muslims deplore his irreverence, and liberal Muslims deplore the fatwa against Rushdie and support his right to publish, or even admire his work; some American and British non-Muslim critics have been critical of him. But the important debate, the one that makes a difference in the real world, is the one between the extremes, and between those extremes there remains a seemingly unbridgeable gulf. It is not my desire to exacerbate the tensions surrounding this novel, nor to delve in any depth into the controversy. That has been done, exhaustively, by many others. I recommend especially Michael Hanne’s “Salman Rushdie: ‘The Satanic Verses’ (1988)“ as a thoughtful overview of the “affair” and Joel Kuortti’s Place of the Sacred: The Rhetoric of the Satanic Verses Affair (1997). But one cannot entirely ignore the controversy
- Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie born on June 19, year 1947 is an Indian-born British-American writer. Often blending magical realism with historical fiction, his work deals primarily with the connections, divisions, and migrations between Eastern and Western civilizations settled in the Indian subcontinent. Rushdie’s second novel, Midnight’s Children (1981), won the 1981 Booker Prize and was twice named “Best Novel of All Winners” on the 25th and 40th anniversaries of the award. His fourth novel The Satanic Verses (1988) was controversial and provoked protests from Muslims. Death threats have been issued against him, including a fatwa calling for his assassination in 1989 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s supreme leader. The British government placed Salman Rushdie under police protection.
- I’m just not sure what happened. And after 500+ pages I feel like a book should leave me with a little more than an overbearing sense of bewilderment. Perhaps if I was more widely read I would have appreciated it more. That being said, I don’t think any reader should even attempt this book unless they have a strong grasp on Islamic theology and the Quran. Otherwise most of the allusions will be wasted on you like they were me. It’s just so difficult to read without that knowledge base. It drew upon such a huge wealth of myths, religion and stories that it became so hard to follow. Multiple names are used to refer to the same characters and they frequently shifted in and out of the narrative making it hard to focus on the story and discern what the actual story was at any given point. So much of the novel went over my head that by around the half way point I’d lost the thread completely and was just reading a series of seemingly unconnected chapters.