Salman Rushdie is a great writer. He is my favorite and I love his books. I first read the Satanic Verses abroad, but now I find the book is available easily in a down loadable edition from the net. The book was published in 1988 and over the last 2 decades has earned for it a commendation as a great book. The book has despite its literary merit generated a lot of controversy. It is considered blasphemous by a fringe minority of Muslims and Iran even took the extreme steps to ban the book and issue a fatwa against it.
The theme of the book is quite complicated as Rushdie creates characters and dreams and action and reaction. Basically the story line runs somewhat like this. Two Indians are flying in a plane on a winters day. Rushdie uses weird names and the characters are so named as well. They are Saladin Chamcha and Gibreel Farishta. The plane in which these two are travelling crashes and both the men descend on the English coast. Both the men are the only survivors. From here the story picks up and Rushdie transforms both the men. into different characters . In between the angel Gabriel also appears and Rushdie creates weird situations with discussions. Its really fascinating stuff and one must be wide awake to read this book as Rushdie creates characters with multiple names.
Rushdie’s prose is first class though a little staid and old fashioned, but it is intoxicating stuff. His references to Islam are perhaps hidden in couched language. In Rushdie’s book angels are demons and demons are angels. The book is one long fantasy. Not many writers can write such a convoluted plot and present it. so skillfully. Rushdie does a wonderful job through out his 561 pages. Sometimes the book makes heavy reading , but that perhaps is inevitable as it is Rushdie’s style of writing.
Rushdie is a muslim and an Indian and he deserves our accolades for an excellent book. One thing that stands out is that Rushdie is a master writer and perhaps after Naipaul the greatest Indian literary giant of our times. It may come as no surprise to readers that he was knighted in England. He has also been honored by France and the USA. Who knows like Naipaul he may even win the Nobel prize.