The Satanic Verses
by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Satanic Verses / 0-312-27082-8
Trapped for days and nights on a hijacked airplane, our heroes suddenly find themselves hurtling towards their certain doom when the hijackers decide to detonate the airplane mid-flight. As they plummet towards the ocean which will surely break every bone in their body, they embrace and sing childhood nursery rhymes to slow their descent to a gentle, safe tumble. Then, the strangeness begins.
"The Satanic Verses" is a heady carpet ride of a novel, an opium-laced dream. Some readers may find this approach difficult - there is certainly much to be said about racism and religious bigotry in this world of ours, but not everyone will appreciate the expression of these issues via scenes of women fantastically changing into glass statues nor via images of hapless pilgrims marching into the sea to their death.
For those who *will* appreciate this unusual and vivid symbolism, "The Satanic Verses" is a genuine treasure. There is so much to absorb here that something new is found with each reading, some new gem of wisdom or seed of doubt. Rushdie does not claim to have any answers: he only claims to have questions. He does not believe himself to be blasphemous, for he believes that without belief, there can be no blasphemy.
Is this book offensive to Islam? I guess it depends on who you ask. I see this as one man's questioning and probing of a religion whose divine origin he has his personal doubts about. There are thousands of books that say the same about Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Wicca, Scientology, and so on. Rushdie does not present his doubts or theories as fact, but rather as heady dreams in the minds of his own insane characters. I believe the purpose of "The Satanic Verses" is simply to ask the readers to examine their ALL beliefs, whatever they may be, religious or otherwise.
~ Ana Mardoll
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