The Satanic Verses (Review)

Book cover for "The Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie.Title: The Satanic Verses

Author: Salman Rushdie

Narration: Sam Dastor

Publication Year: 1988

Pages: 576 (audio length: 21 hours 38 minutes)

Genre: Fiction

Source: Audiobook version purchased from (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.

Don’t bother.


This book is a part of the Ramadan Reading event happening here this month.

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.

1 thought on “The Satanic Verses (Review)”

  1. O, oh. I’m sorry you didn’t like this! I have not read any of Rushdie’s books that were not for children (and only one of those), but I do have him on my TBR list and like you expect rather a lot from it. I’ll try to balance my expectations somewhat..

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