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Quotes From Here And There

Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction.
Dylan Thomas
I fell in love – that is the only expression I can think of – at once, and am still at the mercy of words, though sometimes now, knowing a little of their behavior very well, I think I can influence them slightly and have even learned to beat them now and then, which they appear to enjoy.
Eddie Cantor
It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.
Edward Abbey
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
e e cummings
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting.
Eyler Coates
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually produce a masterpiece. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Without music, life would be a mistake.
Gustave Flaubert
The one way of tolerating existence is to lose oneself in literature as in a perpetual orgy.
Going to the Opera is like making love; we get bored but we come back.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If I love you, what business is it of yours?
John Steinbeck
Only through imitation do we develop toward originality.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
There is no remedy so easy as books, which if they do not give cheerfulness, at least restore quiet to the most troubled mind.
Leonard Cohen
Ring the bells that still can ring;
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything;
That's how the light gets in.
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
Paul Sweeney
You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
Peter Altenberg
I never dreamed of being Shakespeare or Goethe, and I never expected to hold the great mirror of truth up before the world; I dreamed only of being a little pocket mirror, the sort that a woman can carry in her purse; one that reflects small blemishes, and some great beauties, when held close enough to the heart.
Robert Frost
In three words, I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money.
Satchel Paige
Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.
Thomas Mann
A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
V S Naipaul
The writer has only to listen very carefully and with a clear heart to what people say to him, and ask the next question, and the next.

My Personal Library

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

Title:- The Satanic Verses
Genre:- Fiction
Subgenre:- Novel
Author:- Salman Rushdie
Publisher:- Viking Press
ISBN Number:- 0-312-27082-8
Price:- £5.99

The Blurb

No book in modern times has matched the uproar sparked by Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, which earned its author a fatwa from Iran's Ayatollahs decreeing his death. Furore aside, it is a marvellously erudite study of good and evil, a feast of language served up by a writer at the height of his powers and a rollicking comic fable. The book begins with two Indians, Gibreel Farishta, who has been for fifteen years the biggest star in the history of the Indian movies, and Saladin Chamcha, a Bombay expatriate returning from his first visit to his homeland in fifteen years, plummeting from the sky after the explosion of their jetliner, and proceeds through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations. When the jumbo jet blows apart above the English Channel, Gibreel and Saladin are the two who survive and are washed to an English beach. However, it soon becomes clear that curious changes have come over them and that they have been chosen as protagonists in the eternal struggle between God and the Devil.

Rushdie's astonishing powers of invention are at their best in this Booker Prize shortlist and Whitbread Prize winner. Salman Rushdie is the author of Midnight's Children, winner of the 1981 Booker Prize, and Shame.

The Review

The Satanic Verses is a novel which falls in the genre of Magical Realism (a beautiful paradox of our modern times), of which we see much in Gabriel García Márquez's works.

It tells the story of the enchanting Gibreel Farishta who rises from being a pauper in Bombay to a popular filmstar playing Hindu deities in Bollywood mythologicals. The humor in the novel commences when Gibreel refuses to make love to his female admirers with the elephant snout on, which he has used as a prop for playing Lord Ganesha in a movie and which his fans have come to fancy. He complains that an acting career in Bombay is quite less of acting and much more of frantic travel between studios trying to keep schedules.

It also tells the story of the misplaced Saladin Chamcha, who develops an English accent so refined and immaculate that he lends his voice to British radio shows. He shuns his father who loathes books and had sent him away from Bombay to study in Britain. He returns after a long period of absence only to find that the city of his childhood has changed in a quintessential measure.

On his return trip to UK, Saladin Chamcha meets Gibreel Farishta who has absconded in order to meet his flame Annie Cone, the Mount Everest conquerer whom he courted in Bombay. The plane gets hijacked and all but the two protagonists of the novel - Chamcha and Farishta - are dead. The two are washed ashore on the waves of the English Channel, only to find that there has been a major change of roles. Gibreel thereafter suffers hallucinations of being an archangel, while Saladin is transformed into a chimera representing the devil.

Saladin miraculously recovers from the transmogrification and plots his revenge against Gibreel for refusing recognition and help when Saladin was led into custody by policemen. Like Iago, he plots the murder of Annie Cone at the hands of the suspicious and jealous Gibreel Farishta himself. In the climax, Gibreel shoots himself when he realizes what a mistake he has committed.

The novel also runs the course of three mini-plots: The first comprises the tale of Mahound's revelations from Archangel Gibreel, Hind - Mahound's fiercest opponent and Baal - the irreverent poet. The second speaks of the Imam and his gang of terrorists. And the third and most beautiful story is that of Ayesha, the girl who leads poor villagers on a Haj pilgrimage after convincing them that if God willed it, the waters of the Arabian Sea would part to make way for them.

The novel has ample instances of Rushdie-style humor and sarcasm. The narrative though broken into four parallel threads of narration is held together in a very cohesive manner. Rushdie's implicit commentary on the racism prevalent in UK is commendable and should have been the focus of attention, rather than the much publicized and denounced fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against him. However, the novel is not as erudite as it could have been. It is in no way grand or profound, and does not seek to reveal something that the reader is unaware of. Definitely not one of Rushdie's better novels.

The book was banned in many countries including Iran and India, for propagating the theory of The Satanic Verses - those verses of the Holy Quran which were revealed to the Prophet by the Satan and which he later retracted as being part of the Holy Book of the Moslems. It was fortunate that Salman Rushdie survived the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, since the Japanese translator Igarashi was murdered, and the Italian translator Capriolo suffered serious physical injuries due to being stabbed.


    I just skimmed over the plot portion of your review, Abhinav, as I may get around to reading this infamous novel someday. I read "Midnight's Children" years ago, and was overwhelmed. This was a great reminder that I need to delve more deeply into Rushdie. Thank you!

    On January 7, 2008 at 3:37 PM Anonymous said...

    Hi Abhinav, Happy New Year! I've been meaning to read more of Rushdie. Like Sarah, I was "overwhelmed" by it. It was a difficult read ... but worth it. I guess this is the same for this book. I;m putting this in my TBR.

    @Sarah: It's not as profoundly tragic and kaleidoscopic as Midnight's Children was. Don't tell me later that I didn't warn you. ;-)

    @Aloi: Midnight's Children wasn't difficult at all for me. In fact, it was a breeze. I finished the tome in two days flat. But that is because it is a Bombay book. The familiarity of the locale must have put me at ease.

    Sometimes I wonder how books by Rushdie and Mistry find such a global audience, even when they write such detailed and geographically steeped narratives.

    I have been wanting to read this book for years. Thank you for the detailed review. I have a growing list for the summer I'll probably put this on.

    @FQ: Thanks for the BOTDA, I'm glad and flattered.

    @CL: I hope you get to read it soon. Summer still seems far. ;-)
    Incidentally even I read the book in summer. Thanks for dropping by. :-)

    On January 11, 2008 at 6:22 AM Anonymous said...

    Hi Abhinav

    This is an amazing blog you've got here - well designed, busy and full of useful info for readers and writers. Congrats!

    I haven't read The Satanic Verses yet, but I loved Midnight's Children even though, as I'm a Scot, the setting was completely foreign to me.

    I think the exoticism is part of the appeal, like travelling abroad. But also, Rushdie writes truths about human nature that transcend culture.

    Thanks dlk for appreciating my blog. Even I never thought so good of it. ;-)

    I agree... Rushdie has a way with words such that completely transcend time and geography and stand out as independent aphorisms about the nature of truth, breathing fire beyond the confines of context.

    And I agree that exoticism has become more or less an integral part of Indian fiction. In fact I'm writing an article in which it is justified.

    Thanks so much for your insight here. :-)

    I am a great fan of Rushdie. The creativity reflected in his writing is matchless and you are transformed in to a magical world with his words. I enjoyed reading Mid-night's children, shame, shalimar the clown but my favourite Rushdie book has been 'The Moor's last sigh'. I haven't read Satanic verses, looking forward to lay my hands on that one.

    @Medhini: I'm currently on East, West and The Moor's Last Sigh is waiting on the night shelf. Thanks for telling me. Now I'm eager all the more to get to the novel. :-)

    On January 20, 2008 at 5:35 PM Anonymous said...

    lovely reading this review. I too liked the book very much!

    Thanks Kalyan. It was trouble for me because I'd an ebook. But the story was so engrossing that I didn't feel the strain. :-)

    Thanks for the review.....i needed one final shove to go and read it.... i found Midnight's Children to disturbing....though it was quite detailed....and elaborately put forth!! thanks again...:)

    @Rashmi: The Satanic Verses is no less disturbing than Midnight's Children. Though I agree both are delicious reads. ;-)

    On January 28, 2008 at 8:08 PM Anonymous said...

    hi abhinav, me again :)

    if you feel like popping over, i;ve tagged you:


    Thanks aloi for tagging me. As is clear, I'm in genuine need of inspiration for a blogpost.


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