Title: The Satanic Verses
Author: Salman Rushdie
Narration: Sam Dastor
Publication Year: 1988
Pages: 576 (audio length: 21 hours 38 minutes)
Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com (hardcover version gifted from my mother)
From the cover:
Inextricably linked with the fatwa called against its author in the wake of the novel’s publication, The Satanic Versesis, beyond that, a rich showcase for Salman Rushdie’s comic sensibilities, cultural observations, and unparalleled mastery of language. The tale of an Indian film star and a Bombay expatriate, Rushdie’s masterpiece was deservedly honored with the Whitbread Prize.
The story begins with a bang: the terrorist bombing of a London-bound jet in midflight. Two Indian actors of opposing sensibilities fall to earth, transformed into living symbols of what is angelic and evil. This is just the initial act in a magnificent odyssey that seamlessly merges the actual with the imagined. A book whose importance is eclipsed only by its quality, The Satanic Verses is a key work of our times.
I hated this book. I wanted to like it; my mother gave me her old copy a few years ago for Christmas, it was packed into a box when I moved to Abu Dhabi, and then I chose to pick up the audiobook version a few months back so that I could read it without waiting until I move home and unpacked it.
And then it was awful!
I had always thought that, since there was such an uproar around the time that The Satanic Verses was published, and since the conservative crazies have always been so against it, that it must be a good book. But no! The characters are awful (sometimes cliche, sometimes just annoying), the events of the book aren’t really that interesting, and the narrative is often confusing. There were sections of the book where I had a really hard time distinguishing what was happening.
By the time I got to the end of the book, I just wished that I hadn’t wasted so much of my time listening to it. The narrator was fine, it was the story itself that was so horrible. It was offensive to Islam in places, yes, but that wasn’t why I didn’t like it. I didn’t like The Satanic Verses because Rushdie was trying so hard to offend that he just managed to write a horribly bad story.
You can find other posts in the series by clicking on the image to the right, or by taking a look at the schedule of posts and reviews.