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Salman Rushdie «The Satanic Verses»
Publisher: Picador; 1st Picador USA Ed edition | ISBN:0312270828 | December 1, 2000 | PDF | 576 pages | 2,8 mb

Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses is probably destined to be one of the leastread best-sellers of all time. Its main claim to fame is the violent exception that Muslims of the yahoo variety have taken to seventy of its 547 pages. In a thinly disguised parody of the life of the Prophet Mohammed, Mr. Rushdie implies what many critics have long suspected: that the Prophet's message was a little too worldly, and too subject to opportunistic policy adjustments, to have been divinely inspired. The mere suggestion has enraged some of the faithful, and led to book-burnings in England, bloody attacks on U.S. information centers overseas, and the Ayatollah Khomeini's generous offer of $1 million to whatever godly gunsel manages to rub out Mr. Rushdie

All of which makes both too much and too little of an impressive but uneven book by a major but erratic talent. Both the fascination and the principal flaw of The Satanic Verses are unwittingly summed up by its central character toward the end of this dazzling transcultural tour de force:

0, the dissociations of which the humad mind is capable, marveled Saladin gloomily. 0, the conflicting selves jostling within these bags of skin. No wonder we are unable to remain focused on anything for very long; no wonder we invent remote-control channel-hopping devices. If we turned these instruments upon ourselves we'd discover more channels than a cable or satellite mogul ever dreamed of . . .

Indian-born and alien-evolved, Mr. Rushdie has a magic ear for acculturated English, the only modern language to rival Latin in the number of metamorphoses it has undergone in the course of natural evolution, conquest, and grafting. Contemporary Englishlike Mr. Rushdie and many other "cosmopolitan" Indians, Africans, North Americans, and Caribbeans-has been both the victim and the beneficiary of a cultural greenhouse effect. The language has emerged stronger and richer than ever; the people, always scarred, have had a harder time adjusting.

Even more than most other modern men and women, inhabitants of the acculturated English milieu consist of too many parts, too many "conflicting selves," to form a coherent whole. Politically speaking, they suffer ftom a kind of post-colonial depression, a condition, in its symptoms, not very different ftom post-coital depression, only longer lasting.

In earlier novels, Mr. Rushdie grappled with his conflicting emotions in brilliant allegories set in India and Pakistan, the severed parts of his native subcontinent. Now he has attempted an even more ambitious undertaking: a single work in which personal, racial, political, and religious ambivalences clash in order to be reconciled. The clash comes off; the reconciliation, like most reconciliations,is more tenuous.

In writing The Satanic Verses, Mr. Rushdie has said, he "tried to make a melange or hybridization of the different cultures from which I myself come -a novel drawing together the various component parts of myself." The problem is that the parts of the novel, if not of Mr. Rushdie, have trouble sticking together. There are at least four tiers to hiin 2:13 he will come upon these words: "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Whatever his faults and failures, Charles is the kind of person to whom such a sentence will have grand meaning.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Satanic Verses
Author Salman Rushdie
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) Magic Realism, Novel
Publisher Viking Press
Publication date 1988
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 546 pp
ISBN ISBN 0670825379

The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie's fourth novel, first published in 1988 and inspired in part by the life of Muhammad. The title refers to what are known as the satanic verses. According to early Muslim biographies of Muhammad, Muhammad was tricked into revealing these verses as part of the Qur'an by Satan and he later retracted them, saying the angel Jibreel had told him to do so. The verses allow for prayers of intercession to be made to three Pagan Meccan goddesses: Allat, Uzza, and Manah. The part of the story that deals with the "satanic verses" in the book was based on the accounts of the Arab historians al-Waqidi and al-Tabari.

In the United Kingdom, the book was well received among critics. It was a 1988 Booker Prize Finalist, eventually losing to Peter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda and won the Whitbread Award for novel of the year.

In the Muslim community, however, the novel caused great controversy for what many Muslims believed were blasphemous references. As the controversy spread, the book was banned in India and burned in demonstrations in the United Kingdom. In mid-February 1989, following a violent riot against the book in Pakistan, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader of Iran and a Shi'a Muslim scholar, issued a fatwa calling on all good Muslims to kill Rushdie and his publishers, or to point him out to those who can kill him if they cannot themselves.

Following the fatwa, Rushdie was put under police protection by the British government. Despite a conciliatory statement by Iran in 1998, and Rushdie's declaration that he would stop living in hiding, the Iranian state news agency reported in 2006 that the fatwa will remain in place permanently.

As of early 2008 he has not been physically harmed, but others connected with the book have suffered misfortune. Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese language translator of the book, was stabbed to death on July 11, 1991; Ettore Capriolo, the Italian language translator, was seriously injured in a stabbing the same month, and William Nygaard, the publisher in Norway, barely survived an attempted assassination in Oslo in October of 1993


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