Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.
This week’s book:
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Blurb from Goodreads:
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.
Why I Want To Read It
Salman Rushdie has become one of my go-to authors, especially in the past four years. His mettle for the magical and the surrealistic is inimitable. He has his own way of highlighting important issues in a way that is distinctly his own. His Midnight’s Children, dubbed as the Booker of all Bookers, remains as one of my favorite all-time reads.
However, I am ambivalent towards some of his works, more particularly, The Satanic Verses. Despite its inclusion in several must-read lists, including the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, I was nonetheless reserved. It was the book’s title that was pushing me back; not that I am devoutly religious. It’s a title that can both pique one’s interest and also turn one off.
Everything changed when I learned about the controversy that the book was wrapped in after its publication. I learned of it while reading Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Because of its controversial nature, The Satanic Verses was widely censured by the Islamic community, calling it out for its blasphemous nature. The sensibilities of the Muslim community were so offended that Ayatollah Khomeini, then Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a “fatwa” calling for Rushdie’s death. This resulted into countless foiled assassination attempts against the author and the author going into hiding for a couple of years.
Being the curious cat that I am, I stymied my ambivalence. With my interest piqued, I can’t wait to immerse in the story, hence, its inclusion in my 2020 Top 20 Reading List.
Rushdie is one of those authors that I’ve never been that interested to read and in many ways I blame the title of this book. It always deeply unsettled me even though I am familiar with the backstory etc. I hope you do enjoy it when you get to it Carl
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