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Just Before Dawn One Winter S Morning, A Hijacked Jetliner Explodes Above The English Channel Through The Falling Debris, Two Figures, Gibreel Farishta, The Biggest Star In India, And Saladin Chamcha, An Expatriate Returning From His First Visit To Bombay In Fifteen Years, Plummet From The Sky, Washing Up On The Snow Covered Sands Of An English Beach, And Proceed Through A Series Of Metamorphoses, Dreams, And Revelations Back Cover The Satanic Verses is vastly imaginative and creative it is a force to be reckoned with in the literary world providing you can actually get through it And there s the rub because The Satanic Verses is quite possibly the single most confusing piece of fiction I have ever read I m just not sure what happened And after 500 pages I feel like a book should leave me with a little than an overbearing sense of bewilderment Perhaps if I was widely read I would have appreciated it That being said, I don t think any reader should even attempt this book unless they have a strong grasp on Islamic theology and the Quran Otherwise most of the allusions will be wasted on you like they were me.It s just so difficult to read without that knowledge base It drew upon such a huge wealth of myths, religion and stories that it became so hard to follow Multiple names are used to refer to the same characters and they frequently shifted in and out of the narrative making it hard to focus on the story and discern what the actual story was at any given point So much of the novel went over my head that by around the half way point I d lost the thread completely and was just reading a series of seemingly unconnected chapters What didn t help is the fact that I m also reading Joseph Anton, Rushdie s biography The personal relationship between him and his farther is detailed quite extensively throughout and much of Rushdie s emotions regarding the matter are paralleled here in different forms I became confused with events that had happened in Rushdie s life and those that had happened in the fictional account here because they are so strikingly similar This meant that a confusing novel became even confusing I find the history of the novel, the events that led Rushdie to go into hiding as he feared for his own life, far interesting than the actual work itself perhaps because I can actually comprehend the facts as they are not veiled in a web of incomprehensible allegory One day I will come back to this book, not anytime soon it will be a day when I am familiar with the texts it discusses and engages with At least then, I may be able to read it and form a solid opinion of it For now though, I ve come to a simple conclusion this book really isn t for me, at least, not yet. Occasionally, I will go into Half Price Books and buy a book that hasn t been recommended by any one I know, by an author I ve never read before, solely because of its critical acclaim I buy and read a book because I feel that I should, based on the general public s reaction to it It is a weakness Many months ago, I decided to buy Salman Rushdie s The Satanic Verses My decision was based on the controversy surrounding the book It was thought to be so controversial, so blasphemous, that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa on Salman Rushdie It became every Muslim s sacred duty to hunt down this writer of fiction and kill him So I thought these were the days long before the reaction to Danish comics wow, this book pissed off people enough that they want to kill him Wow I must read this book It s gotta be good That s what controversy does It brings a lot of attention to something that doesn t always merit the attention So, when I bought Rushdie s book, I fell for the hype Partly because it was a subject that I did have an interest in I m an amateur theologian, and I can t find better amusement than blasphemy Besides that, I love Magic Realism and this book had plenty of that What this book did not have plenty of was editing This book was in serious need of an editor There were parts that were thrilling and exciting, but overall, the writing of the book was bland and uninspired for its very interesting subject matter Quick Plot Summary Two Indian ex patriots, now living in England living very famous lives are on an airplane when it is exploded by terrorists They survive the explosion and the fall and upon landing begin changing The garish obnoxious one, gains a halo, becoming the arch angel Gabreel and the prim and proper other one gains horns and goat legs The devil s story is his reintroduction into society and the angel s story is through his dreams, he inspires the prophet Mohammad Everything culminates into a showdown between these two entities But along the way, nothing happens We have pages and pages of unnecessary background information And then, we have pages and pages of unnecessary background information We keep getting filled with pages and pages of unnecessary background information Suddenly, we re faced with a book that is much larger, and importantly, much drier than it should be It really does have the basis for a great story Wonderful things happen in this book that everyone should read, but it s not worth getting through all the unnecessary to get there I ve never taken so long to read a book Usually, I read a book when I want to and usually that s all the time This book, I only read in great spurts when I was sitting and waiting I read a bunch when I was sitting and waiting at a debate tournament I read a bunch while I was sitting and waiting monitoring my students testing I read a bunch while I was sitting and waiting in the bathtub for my health to return Never was there a point when I wanted to pick up this book because it was interesting and I couldn t wait to get back to the story As big a fan of magic realism as I am, I was disappointed If you re looking for a Muslim centric magic realism story that uses a lot of the same story telling techniques that Rushdie uses, I recommend a far superior story done by a far superior writer Farnoosh Moshiri s At the Wall of the Almighty. From the archives September 27 1988 The Satanic Verses, the controversial first draft of the Quran recently discovered after spending 1379 years in a safe deposit box, finally appeared yesterday to a mixed reception Wheeeeee I m so excited said one fan who had spent all night lining up outside her local Barnes Noble A new book by Allah Can you believe it Other readers are however less enthusiastic about the novel, and take exception to its portrayal of the much loved character Mohammad as a lecherous smalltime crook Influential blogger AyatollahK has been particularly outspoken Allah never intended this book to be published, he said yesterday in a tersely worded post Salman Rushdie and HarperCollins are agents of Shaitan and will be hunted down like dogs. Unfortunately, most people know this book from the scandal and fatwa it generated around the personage of its prolific and outspoken author Salman Rushdie rather than the book itself The thing that enraged some Muslims and the Ayatollah of Iran most of all was Rushdie s hypothesis that Mohammed, being completely illiterate and having the Qu ran being narrated to him by Archangel Gabriel could have dozed off at one point and that Satan could have impersonated Gabriel without Mohammed noticing causing some verses of the Holy Book to be written by him That s it Just a theory No than when Kazantzakis imagines Jesus fantasising about accepting Mary Magdalene s sexual advances In Rushdie s book, this is not even the main story, just an internal narrative in a dream of a character that falls out of an airplane of all things The book is highly imaginative and although I preferred Midnight s Children and The Moor s Last Sigh, remains for me one of his best works So read it if for any other reason as to oppose censorship and support artistic freedom and artistic license Especially in these days of religious fanaticism, books like Satanic Verses which challenge the status quo and force us to re evaluate our values and id es re u are incredibly important. Here s the thing about this book that you will immediately grasp from what everyone says it s a beast I do not mean this in a bad sense I mean this in the sense that it s overwhelming It s long, complex storylines that involve overlapping characters and storylines that don t overlap in time or space at all , dense and occasionally slow It is not for the reader with ADD No matter how quickly you think you might read, reading this book will slow you down No matter how determined you are to catch every single detail and nuance of this book and what it means, you will not.I can generally blaze through a book in a matter of days It took me an entire year to read this book, and was almost certainly my longest read I often had to go back and refer to other parts of the book to keep names and events straight but you know what it was worth every minute.Rushdie is a master writer, and I can t tell you how much I took away from this book I would have liked to taken a class on it while reading it so that I could have understood of it, but even without one, I enjoyed every second of it reading it is a labor of love, but it s a highly rewarding one. What kind of idea are you This question, scattered throughout the pages of this novel, is the intermediary between the author and his work A waterloo of sorts, a windbreaker giving rise to the question of the material s purpose It gives us some sort of glimpse as to why he chose to name it Satanic Verses , insight to all its diabolical implications, and some sort of motive as to why it is disrespectful to Islam and the Prophet So what kind of an idea is this In turn, what kind of idea are we It is said that people are only the sum of their ideas and beliefs So what equaled to our sum What are we made of Are you a preconceived idea When does the bias of the material end and when does the bias of the reader begin If you re either a Christian or a Muslim, then surely the title of this novel made you pause, if only a little Or maybe it drove you off altogether I assure you this novel is not satanic in any devilish way Now I ask the question Do we really approach a book with an open mind, or do we give immediate judgment to books based on their titles Do we read without bias or do we bear impasse to fairness Do we aim to learn or do we aim to protect our knowledge These questions, I believe, are critical when discussing reading materials which are controversial in nature It occurred to me when, during an article review in one of my classes, my group mates and I discussed the bias of an article about the Gaza affair My groupmates interpreted the article in favor of Israel while I, on the other hand, viewed it a bit sympathetic towards Palestinians I realized then that when it came to issues we have forehand knowledge of people tend to see what they want to see Justification of its stand is the priority of the mind rather than the absorption of new information This selective receiving, blindsiding whatever parity the material has, is a greater source of misconstrusion rather than biased material Sure, there will always be certain biases in all materials we read, but the bias of the mind is the sieve through which comprehension passes, it will only let in biases it supports This greatly affects one s comprehension into the mold it wants to see The bias of a material will be evident to an open mind, but the bias of a reader will affect even the most unbiased material A good example is the reading of the Bible The Bible is the foundation of Christianity Everything that Christians believe in come from that book, but I believe it was Isaac Asimov who said Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived It only shows that one s biases are the hands that mold one s reading experience People s understanding is founded on the guidance of certain assumptions and axioms based on previous knowledge, but this principle can also be taken to an extreme This learned mindset which has become second nature to us, is a great hindrance to critical thinking and knowledge acquisition Even the most gifted mind is beset by this problem, and I believe it takes years of practice to be able to read something without any inclinations.So before you read this novel, I beg that you give a conscious effort to be open minded and at least try to suppress the inevitable biases that you will have A full cup will spill all that s poured into it, be an empty cup Only then can one learn to fully appreciate this novel.Different Ideas Salman Rushdie s novel is a multi layered magical tale with lots of possible implications Its many facets, much like a dice that can roll to many of its sides, may have different meanings or might be driving together at one main point It s hard to really pin point the central theme of the novel The author suggests that it is about migration and the problems that immigrants face, which is most obvious during Chamcha s early metamorphism The notion of nationalism and betrayal of one s country is thereby tackled But then Mahound s, the Butterfly Girl s, and the Immam s respective arcs try to bring perspective to blind faith Baal s tale warns one of trying to be someone else The Old Woman s and Rehka Merhcant s respective accounts tell us not to devote our purpose to another person The terrorist s example hints mockery in self sacrifice Farishta s bizarre experiences advises us to not to be fooled by destiny or purpose Alleluia s case conveys that uprightness is not always rewarded The whole immigrant mob incident showcases that the mob mentality is not always right Many possible ideas are present, one can choose which to focus on, which to ignore, which to accept Which I idea are you My ideaFor me, the main idea of this novel is learning to understand that one must create one s own ideas If you will notice, all the facets and interwoven tales are delved in problems when the characters place their life, their ideas on nationalism, faith, someone they want to be like, someone they love, on political beliefs, on destiny, on goodwill, on what everybody does We are busy with these worldviews that we then ignore the question What are my own ideas Who am I apart from these things not of my own WHAT KIND OF AN IDEA ARE YOU Are you the kind that compromises, does deals, accommodates itself to society, aims to find a niche, to survive or are you the cussed, bloody minded, ramrod backed type of damnfool notion that would rather break than sway with the breeze The kind that will almost certainly, ninety nine times out of a hundred, be smashed to bits but, the hundredth time, will change the world A bit of a clich , I know But one can t avoid the reality of what this says Are your ideas your own, or were they placed there by society Creativity, originality, uniqueness these things are being suppressed by a society that calls for conformity, for belongingness What kind of idea will you be The World s Ideas Society was orchestrated by what she called grand narratives history, economics, ethics In India, the development of a corrupt and closed state apparatus had excluded the masses of the people from the ethical project As a result, they sought ethical satisfactions in the oldest of the grand narratives, that is, religious faith But these narratives are being manipulated by the theocracy and various political elements in an entirely retrogressive way We can t deny the ubiquity of faith If we write in such a way as to pre judge such belief as in some way deluded or false, then are we not guilty of elitism, of imposing our world view on the masses Worldviews, social constructs, axioms, these are also important as much as one s individuality For one must take into account that one s self interest doesn t give one the right to step on another Let our aim be a way of life not diametrically opposed to, but better than that of the mob Otherwise we shall repel and alienate the very people whose reform we should desire I understand Salman Rushdie was disrespectful to Islam and to Muhammad, shouldn t he have been It is not for me to say It was his choice, and I refuse to cast another stone where I am but an observer But who are we to say that he deserves to die for his unbelief It is one thing to ask for an apology, and another to take life altogether Why should a review get deleted when it says bad things about an author Free Expression is commendable but one must also remember repercussions Acts are done in the name of ideas Be careful what ideas you clash with, you embody, for unlike an idea which can change, the associated action cannot be taken back The Fatwa placed on Rushdie s head speaks the truth about how conforming the world asks us to be, how the actuality of ideas cannot be undone But sometimes, just sometimes, the realization stemmed from one person s ideas changes the world for the greater good Will the possibility of criticism deter your idea What kind of idea are you Be your own kind of idea, think critically, question everything, don t be a passive receiver, be open minded, be creative, unique, but also learn to respect ideas that are not your own. People jumping into this book blindly may soon find themselves wishing they had informed themselves somewhat beforehand I must claim an embarrassing ignorance about just about every aspect of this daunting work at the outset I had only the faintest whisper of a memory of having heard the phrase satanic verses outside of a discussion of the ever present religiously sanctioned hit out on the author s life I had very little knowledge of Indian culture and none regarding the cross cultural experiences of Indian immigrants living in Great Britain, and I only knew the barest outline of the history of Islam While reading this book, I fell head first into every one of these gaps in my knowledge and quite a few besides To pigeonhole the Satanic Verses as a book solely concerned with and influenced by the above mentioned topics is to miss a great deal of what Rushdie put into it Personally, while reading, I often found it helpful and at times necessary to educate myself along the way Even still, I recognize that I have not grasped many of the story s finer points and subtler themes, and I suspect that, if ever in my life I am able and patient enough to deepen my understanding of this work, my rating will almost certainly improve. I never got past page 60 in this book I read and forgot and reread and forgot again up unto about the fifth reading when I thought to myself that I might rate Midnight s Children as one of the greatest books I ve read, enjoyed the depiction of Benazir Bhutto as the Virgin Ironpants in Shame a great deal, but I also couldn t read Shalimar the Clown and thought that Grimus was excreble not even Rushie rated this first offering of his oeuvre So what was I doing trying so hard with the Satanic Verses I felt that for a book to engender such a farrago of praise, death and destruction I must read it for myself and see what it was all about But I couldn t It bored me rigid.However from the synopsis and reviews I have read of the book, I think it might translate into an excellent film, I just don t think there is a director alive courageous enough to make it, nor a cast who would act in it, and I don t blame any of them But I do hate that the fundamentalists have got even that much of a victory.Death to all those that oppose freedom Well not death, nah, not that, just shut up already and go and moan to your friends and family like everyone else would view spoiler One man s freedom is another man s murder this is a word that changes its meaning according to the philosophy of those spouting it hide spoiler Salman Rushdie uses excessive language to cloud discordant plots, has a part time occupation of scouring the news to write op eds about evil Muslim organizations he reads about, and is obsessed with celebrity Rushdie strangles his plot in The Satanic Verses by hitching every development to a forced and unnecessarily long description or metaphor His overwriting prevents the development of narrative flow He even returns to metaphors about the same topic sometimes, like when he writes about stuff falling out of the plane in the first chapter again and again It s not hard to read but it is distracting and he uses ingratiating language He doesn t sound confident in his writing Yaaaaaa I m falling out of an aeroplane Wa waaajaaaa The annoyance you now feel is the same feeling I felt when I started reading The Satanic Verses a couple of days ago I don t oppose metaphors and I don t even oppose varied styles and formats of writing, so long as they are effective There is a difference between figurative language and purple prose Look at this punctuation, pg 15 Oh don t forget she saw her after she died Ok Thanks I won t forget Oh and Rushdie I don t like kitschy conversational prose It was the death of God pg 16 What a way to start a paragraph God just died Aw man, false alarm, it s just crap like It was part of his magic persona that he succeeded in crossing religious boundaries without giving offence Oh it was I ll keep that in mind about the character from now on Nah, I ll probably forget it It doesn t matter though because it didn t mean anything to begin with At least he threw in a book recommendation, Akbar and Birbal, in that paragraph to make it worth something It s out of place He s certainly proven to me that he s a master of the Orient at this point, though Someone told me not to use the term orientalist because it was stale so I ll use master of the Orient instead He also gives a shout out to Hinduism and Buddhism in this paragraph Just name drop those religions as fast as you can and move on, I guess No Satanic influence there.Rushdie also relies on intentionally jumbled what sitcalledwhenyoudothisstupidthing words and run on sentences This sucks I remember writing words like that in elementary school because I thought it was funny It s not funny It s cutesy at best I don t like reading over 500 pages worth of giddy and bubbly writing just to get through a stupid plot His realism is magical because he relies on controversial fairy tales to carry themes he is either too lazy or too incompetent to create through reality His magical realism makes me feel like I m watching what I imagine an Enya music video would look like He s hiding a spastic plot behind mysticism He fails to employ that mysticism to do anything interesting than a competent author could do with the real and concrete According to RUSHDORK, I mean Rushdie, Satan interrupted the divine dictation of the Koran It was supposed to go from the Archangel Gabriel s mouth to Mohammad s ear and then to he People Satan stepped in like the jackass in a game of Telephone who gets the message wrong on purpose Later, Islamic ninjas covered up Satan s interference and Mohammad s mistake This is the plot hook of The Satanic Verses Mohammad was influenced by the Devil even though the Koran has no trace of the two goddesses introduced by Zoroaster How the hell does that work Was Mohammad like My utterances at dawn t was Satan Sorry, guys Maybe that happened but Rushdie never explains this But it was probably, as a huge amount of speculative western scholarship has uncovered in the years since Rushdie s inflammatory book was published, just a fight amongst a few Muslims who accused a few other Muslims of attempting, in compiling What the Prophet Said, to add their own idols, who they wanted to be included in religious scripture THAT HAPPENED COUNTLESS TIMES DURING THE FORMATION OF THE KORAN and western historians, in all their ignorance of Islam, got involved, so when they saw Muslims accusing each other, they took the chance to say they re fighting about Satan s influence It was a few phrases that got chopped in the cutting room of the Koran, but were scooped off the floor MAYBE Someone called them satanic, probably a westerner, as Daniel Pipes speculates, and it was on Rushdie was ready to write Misappropriating history with such lazy disregard for truth or context, with such an ignorance that turns condescending by transmission this is the hallmark of Dan Browns, not great authors It s as though Brown seized on some of the inflammatory screeds from the Arian Heresy and wrote a book that went like, Aha The Knights Templar were time travelers It s not good fiction That this intentionally inflammatory claptrap rose to the level of world renowned Great Art speaks to the global prejudice against Islamic theology than to to the Satanic Verses literary worth If you believe that Gabriel spoke Allah s divine words to Mohammad, I bet you don t also think that Mohammad received false words from Satan, do you If you believe that Gabriel did not speak Allah s divine words to Mohammad, I bet you also don t think that Mohammad received false words from Satan, do you Anyone The rest of this review has very little to do with The Satanic Verses but it does have to do with Rushdie Rushdie lives a pampered celebrity life now that he s no longer hunted by hundreds of assassins He s an English knight, so maybe he ll fulfill his fantasy and go to the Holy Land to vanquish Muslims, just the bad ones though, as he is so adept at finding Another review on Goodreads said that he had a cameo in Bridget Jones s Diary That s lame Sir Rushdie came out of hiding by walking on stage at a U2 concert I didn t know he was a rock star, wow We get it, you really like attention He teaches English now at Emory University, far away from where the following treacherous Islamists lurk Here are some thoughtful articles he s written Someone email Sean Hannity and just set up the interview already Islam can t take this informed and logical onslaught much longer, Salman Let it live He s been married four times I m cool with that I live in the U.S so I know that judging someone for that it wrong That must sting Rushdie s massive ego a bit Maybe he just doesn t care A few parting shots He was most recently married to a model who poses nude, is decades younger than him, sits interviews covering how she loves certain parts of her body, repeatedly proclaims that she isn t boastful, and is a judge on a cooking show Spare me the whole EVERYONE would want that in his life Here s some hubris on display from her steroidal celebrity Facebooky page Being married to a giant cultural figure like Salman Rushdie, I wantto earn my seat at the table, she says Why stop at Rushdie s table Why not surpass him and become The Greatest Human Being to Ever Live Her authorship includes a cookbook called Easy Exotic Too many jokes there.