one of the leading literary figures of our time, a gripping international tale
of love and revenge, and the ancient and modern conflicts from which they
Los Angeles, 1991. Ambassador Maximilian Ophuls, one of the makers of the modern
world, is murdered in broad daylight on his illegitimate daughter India's
doorstep, slaughtered by a knife wielded by his Kashmiri Muslim driver, a
mysterious figure who calls himself Shalimar the clown. The dead man is a
charismatic World War Two Resistance hero, a man of formidable intellectual
ability, a former US ambassador to India and subsequently America's
counter-terrorism chief. The murder looks at first like a political
assassination, but turns out to be passionately personal.
This is the story of Max Ophuls, his killer and his daughter and of a fourth
character, the woman who links them, whose story finally explains them all. It
is an epic narrative that moves from California to Kashmir, from Nazi-occupied
Europe to the world of modern terrorism. Along the way there is kindness, and
magic capable of producing miracles; there is also war ugly, unavoidable and
seemingly interminable. And there is always love, gained and lost, uncommonly
beautiful and mortally dangerous.
Everything is unsettled. Everything is connected. Lives are uprooted, names keep
changing nothing is permanent. The story of anywhere is also the story of
everywhere else. Spanning the globe and darting through history, Rushdie's
narrative captures the heart of the reader and the spirit of a troubled age.
'It seems to me, more and more, that the fictional project on which I've been
involved ever since I began Midnight's Children back in 1975 is one of
self-definition. That novel, Shame and The Satanic Verses strike
me as an attempt to come to terms with the various component parts of myself -
countries, memories, histories, families, gods. First the writer invents the
books; then, perhaps, the books invent the writer.
But whenever I say anything about my work I want to contradict myself at once.
To say that beyond self-exploration lies a sense of writing as sacrament, and
maybe that's closer to how I feel: that writing fills the hole left by the
departure of God.
But, again, I love story, and comedy, and dreams. And newness: the novel, as its
name suggests, is about the making of the new.
None of this is quite true; all of it is true enough.'
Rushdie, one of the most prominent novelists of today, proves that he's still got what it takes 30 years after the publication of his first novel, with this exploration of the clash of faiths and cultures, and the roots of terrorism. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The. . .transformation of Shalimar into a terrorist is easily the
most impressive achievement of the book, and here one must congratulate Rushdie
for having made artistic capital out of his own suffering, for the years spent
under police protection, hunted by zealots, have been poured into the novel in
ways which ring hideously true. . . . Shalimar the Clownis a powerful
parable about the willing and unwilling subversion of multiculturalism.
deployment of interconnected narratives spanning six decades. . . . Dazzling. .
. . A magical-realist masterpiece that equals, and arguably surpasses, the
achievements of Midnight's Children, Shame and The Moor's
Last Sigh. The Swedes won't dare to offend Islam by giving Rushdie
the Nobel Prize he deserves more than any other living writer. Injustice rules.
Booklist - Brad Hooper
To characterize the novel
as "rich" seems inadequately broad as a general description of a
Rushdie book, including this one. Let it stand, however, as a cogent descriptor
of Rushdie's sheer and magnificent talent. His beautifully metaphoric language
and sly sense of humor keep his complex plot, with its layers of personal and
cosmic meaning, tightly woven.
Did you know?
The 1989 fatwa against Salman Rushdie proclaimed by Ayatollah Khomeini (then
leader of Iran) triggered by the publication of The Satantic Verses in
1988, has never been lifted. In fact, it was reaffirmed in 2005 by
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's current spiritual leader, and again in February
2006 when the government-run Matyrs Foundation announced, "The fatwa by Imam
Khomeini in regards to the apostate Salman Rushdie will be in effect forever
..... The book The Satanic Verses was the incarnation of the satanic
plots of the World Arrogance (United States) and the occupying Zionists which
appeared through the sleeves of this apostate". Another of Iran's
foundations has offered a USA $2.8 million bounty on Rushdies life.
The key element that Khomeini found offensive in The Satanic Verses was a
fictionalized illusion to a legend relating to the Prophet Mohammed, in which it
is said that Mohammed originally accepted some verses into the Qur'an that
acknowledged three goddesses...
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