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The Satanic Verses [Paperback]

Salman Rushdie
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wrestling with God Nov. 3 2001
Format:Paperback
On the evening of September 10, 2001, the acclaimed, or is it notorious, British-Indian author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie, came to Houston to read from his latest work. A small crowd of Ayatollah-following extremist protesters picketed outside the Alley Theater. If that is all they're up to now, I thought, perhaps we've heard the last of the jihad, the fatwa and the Islamic crazies. Little did I know what outrage awaited the next day.
When I found The Satanic Verses in the book store, I thought, If this is a war of ideas, a war for the mind, then my own little personal protest will be to read what my enemy does not want anyone to read. It had not occurred to me before, because the fervor of the fatwa led me to believe Salman Rushdie's book was some sort of religious tract or angry political protest against Muslim fundamentalism, not a novel of brilliant imagination, sensual metaphor and lyrical poetry.
It is a story of India and Britain, and the inevitable clashes between, brought on by their long, and turbulent history together. It is a story about personal identity, racial identity and religious identity. It is a story of damnation and redemption, love and betrayal, betrayal and forgiveness. But most of all, it is a story about people. Deep, colorful and live, full of passion, humor and questions for the Almighty. It is, in short, a human story, so well crafted, that anyone, even someone like me who has little experience with India or Islam, can relate to its message.
Perhaps this accessibility is just what worried the Ayatollah Khomeni. By issuing his death sentence upon Salman Rushdie's head, he drew widespread attention and sympathy for a talented writer who might otherwise have gone unnoticed outside his own circle of interest.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A challenge worth taking Dec 4 2001
By Heather
Format:Hardcover
I doubt that I ever would have chosen this work outside of my college literature class, but I am much more enlightened for having read it. Salman Rushdie has weaved a novel that is a complicated web of good vs. evil, identity politics, and complex characters.
Not to scare off the borderline reader, but to read this book is a commitment. The use of hindi language and other alien references is a bit intimidating, but why read something if you aren't going to learn anything new? It is thought provoking at every turn and requires the reader to pay attention to the multiple plots and to keep the characters who share the same name differentiated. This book is an absolute must for anyone who is curious about Islam, Muslim life, even the effects of colonialism. Be aware, this isn't a work you can stick on the nightstand and forget about for weeks.
Even if the book isn't your cup of tea, you have to at least give credit to Rushdie for having the conviction to write such a tale. Kudos to him for taking his beliefs, doubts, and issues with a religion, a society, and cultivating them into a piece of art to be enjoyed for all time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rushdie's Masterpiece Jan. 5 2000
Format:Hardcover
The book isn't a blasphemy against Islam; the death sentence pronounced against the author was an insult to everything Islam is supposed to represent. I have never seen or heard of so many people condemning a book they never read. If this isn't the height (or depth) of ignorance, tell me what is. The Satanic Verses is a tour de force. I have read it three times since it was first published and it still fascinates me. There is so much happening in this book that it is several books in one. Those who are upset at the protagonist's ravings against Islam don't seem to realize that these are the ravings of a disturbed mind; Gibreel is a paranoid schizophrenic whose tortured fantasies can only end in the tragedy that finally releases him from his inner hell. Rushdie is an incredibly gifted writer: one moment he is laughing-out-loud funny, and at other times his prose verges on the poetic. Read this book with an open mind; it's a treasure-house to be explored over and over again.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars knowing about Islam DOES help a lot... April 11 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Even if you don't know anything about Islam, the book is still beautiful and entertaining and you'll get a lot out of it. But don't believe the people who say that you don't need to know anything beyond who Muhammad is to understand it completely. I read the book right before I started a class on Islam, and I understood a lot of the main messages. After I took the class, though, so many things started to make more sense. For example, Rushdie renames Mecca "Jahilia", which in Islam refers to the 'age of pagan ignorance'. (So he's calling the most holy city a place of ignorance...) That's just a tiny example; most of them are a lot more detailed. There are so many incredibly complex things that are going on in this book, that you simply can't understand it all if you don't know anything about Islam. I would still encourage anyone to read it though. Maybe it'll spark an interest to learn more about the religion.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking. Thought-provoking. Humanistic. May 19 2002
Format:Paperback
The Satanic Verses is a great humanistic book. The message I got from the book is that good and evil are simply two attributes of the same human essence as opposed to being the workings of special agents (angels and devils). Angels, devils, revelations, inspirations are all devices of the rich human imagination. Thoughts belong wholly to the thinker, and the actions belong wholly to the doer.
This message is not of course novel. Rushdie's deliverance, however, is ingenious. The two protagonists, two adult males, fall from the sky after a plane accident. The traumatic incident gives Rushdie the justification to set his heroes on a journey where the reader is led to review the concepts of good and evil through the eyes and minds of the two characters. Both characters are Indian. But I do believe their plight is pretty universal. Salahuddin Chamcha is a man at odds with his father and with his country culture for reasons that we come to recognize as believable and human and real. Gibreel Farishta, on the other hand, is living a surreal life as an Indian movie icon, depicting on the screen all sorts of religious figures in the wide spiritual spectrum found in India. After the incident, Chamcha found himself being transformed to a devil, while Gibreel turned to an angel. Their experiences and later transformations and the stories given through their minds are then used potently by Rushdie to deliver his humanistic message.
I picked from the book another subtle idea in what i believe to be Rushdie's spiritual world view. While we are told that revealed religions and inspired ideas are in fact only the brain children of their "prophets", we are also told that they are not without any use.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars ????????????????????????????????????????????
I PURCHASED THIS BOOK TO GET SOME INSIGHT FROM A (FORMER??) MOSLIM ON HIS VIEWS ON THIS "RELIGION", CONSIDERING THAT THE IATOLA GOMANY (I DON'T REMEMBER THE CORRCT SPELLING... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dick P. Veerman
5.0 out of 5 stars Arrived fast
This was a excellent place to purchase what I want, it came quick and packaged very well. I will purchase here again.

Theresa Fong
Published 14 months ago by Theresa Fong
2.0 out of 5 stars Satanic Verses
My husband ordered the book..seller was perfect in mailing etc., but the book was NOT what he expected it to be and did not enjoy what little he read.
Published 17 months ago by mayflower
1.0 out of 5 stars Printing and Binding issue
I ordered this book (Hard Cover) from Amazon and was very excited about reading this world famous book. Read more
Published on March 12 2012 by Rajesh
4.0 out of 5 stars Controversial Fiction
"The Satanic Verses" is a novel which has been overshadowed by its history. Published in late September of 1988, it was on February 14th in 1989 that a fatwa was issued by the... Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2011 by Dave_42
5.0 out of 5 stars A Metaphorical Wonder
A great deal has been written since 1988 about Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, which, aside from the obvious sensationalism regarding the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's fatwa,... Read more
Published on Dec 28 2010 by Lorina Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile
THE SATANIC VERSES is a great humanistic book. This, along with Franzen's THE CORRECTIONS made up my great reading for the past year. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2006 by Y.A.
1.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to Follow
The Satanic Verses was a huge disappointment. The plot was all over the place and failed to interest me at all. How could this novel have caused so much hype?
Published on Dec 17 2006 by AZ Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a STORY not a book based in facts
I'm an open-minded person, and have also striven to be fair and honest in my dealings with people, regardless of race or colour or creed or religion. Read more
Published on March 6 2006 by Ambrosia Blue
1.0 out of 5 stars Too much hype...
When this book came out I thought it might be a good read but decided to wait until all the hype around it was over to better make an accurate judgement. Read more
Published on Oct. 31 2005 by "balrais1"
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