In this weekly meme I will highlight a book that remains on my shelf, unread and impatiently waiting to be picked up.
Well I guess I can no longer call this a weekly meme, since my last OMB was back in April (oops). But it’s back now, and I do intend to show off my unread books more regularly from now on.
This week’s pick is The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. I’ve wanted to read this book for quite some time now, mainly of course because of all the commotion that surrounded its initial release back in 1988 (the year I was born). I want to see for myself what all the fuss was about which resulted in a fatwa being issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, ordering the death of Rushdie. The title of the book refers to the so-called “satanic verses” that were once part of the Quran, and allowed the worship of three pagan Meccan goddesses.
No book in modern times has matched the uproar sparked by Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, which earned its author a death sentence. Furor aside, it is a marvelously erudite study of good and evil, a feast of language served up by a writer at the height of his powers, and a rollicking comic fable. The book begins with two Indians, Gibreel Farishta (“for fifteen years the biggest star in the history of the Indian movies”) and Saladin Chamcha, a Bombay expatriate returning from his first visit to his homeland in 15 years, plummeting from the sky after the explosion of their jetliner, and proceeds through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations. Rushdie’s powers of invention are astonishing in this Whitbread Prize winner.