‘To be born again, you must die.’ Never had an opening line been as opulent, or a prose so poetic. Satanic verses has been made into a taboo, with its burlesque of an imaginary prophet in the middle east who lived on twisting the winds to his favor. But with a more magnanimous point of view, it simply portrays more or less how religion has been constantly interpreted in the ways to favor the Goliaths and kill the Davids. Even though Rushdie weaves fantasy-like realities in all his novels, this one is a must for all the bard lovers. Tactile imagery and metaphors make this book a poem lover’s delight.
He sets the tone with the opening metaphor,a blast in a hijacked plane where the only two survivors Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha fall from the sky( those who are familiar with the epics of the fallen angel and Satan will understand how apt it is) unhurt. As Gibreel tries desperately to start a new life, he is constantly pulled back to his old,and as Saladin desperately tries to hold on to his old life he is transformed beyond the morphs. Throughout the book Rushdie talks about how evil is not an entity different from the good,how Satan is not itself a being but a manifestation of God. It was blamed for being a blasphemous theme, but can there be light without darkness?
From its frame narrative approach to the heavy doses of Hindi and Urdu words to the shifting plot that takes us through time, place, and varying levels of consciousness, Rushdie brilliantly uses his tools of magical-realism to explore universal themes of terror, fidelity and the line between God and Satan.
The Satanic Verses is a book that challenges the reader constantly. You can’t help but be proactive each moment. No book shall ever make you question religion, God and conscience as this verse. And NO! reading the book is not illegal. There is just a ban on importing the book, not on reading it. The e-book is available on the net and even if e-books are a bit inconvenient, I promise you this book is worth the trouble.
Thickness: 561 pages(Paperback version)
Publisher: Picador,1st Picador USA Ed edition (December 1, 2000)
Contributed By : Satyabrat Mishra