Monday, October 06, 2008

The Satanic Verses | Salmon Rushdie

This novel made me feel like I was on a rollercoaster. I was scheduled to finish it by September 24th for my book club, but ended up taking another couple of weeks to get to the end of the 550 pages. There were times where I hated this book beyond any other (mainly due to wordy language and disjointed storytelling), and times where the novel was able to sustain my interest and keep me reading on.

It was evident that the book poked fun of religion, unabated devotion for things which had a root in ignorance. Stories were told about leaders who used religion to keep their people under their power. Perhaps this is why Rushdie was given a death sentence for creating this novel.

The book questioned concepts of the devil and messengers of God, and peoples belief in both parties respectively. It used imagery and dreams, to an extent where you were never sure if you were in "reality" or within a dream. The problem with the writing was... I really didn't care. There were parts in this novel where I had no idea what was going on. Rushdie is an imaginative writer, but he also seems to lose his points and go off on tangents which made things hard to follow. Read Hemginway's use of run on sentences in the Old Man and the Sea, and they seem to work. In Satanic Verses, they just added to the confusion.

There was also a theme revolving around the concept of 'home', specifically how it relates to "your people" or the place you grew up in. Rushdie, however, did little to make this stand out amongst some of the other great books of our time. In this theme, The Kite Runner faired far better.

The more I read the book, the more I thought it was created solely for entertainment value, not for religious reasons (althought I could see where it would upset some of the deeply devout). I didn't find anything about this book as transcendent, it was more or less a beach book with far more difficult language. That being said, I doubt I was Rushdie's target audience, and I must admit my ignorance when it comes to the religions of the world. However, Rushdie did little to teach me about anything, but if there was one saving grace, it would have been Rushdie's use of images. At times I was transported to a world which was unlike any other I have yet experienced, and for that... this book was at least worth some of the time I put into it.

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