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The Satanic Verses: A Novel (Bestselling Backlist) Paperback – 4 Feb 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 561 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press; 1st Picador USA Ed edition (4 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312270828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312270827
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,211,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

No book in modern times has matched the uproar sparked by Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, which earned its author a fatwa from Iran's Ayatollahs decreeing his death. Furore aside, it is a marvellously erudite study of good and evil, a feast of language served up by a writer at the height of his powers and a rollicking comic fable. The book begins with two Indians, Gibreel Farishta ("for fifteen years the biggest star in the history of the Indian movies") and Saladin Chamcha, a Bombay expatriate returning from his first visit to his homeland in 15 years, plummeting from the sky after the explosion of their jetliner, and proceeds through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations. Rushdie's astonishing powers of invention are at their best in this Whitbread Prize winner. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"'A staggering achievement, brilliantly enjoyable' Nadine Gordimer" "'A masterpiece' Sunday Times" "'A novel of metamorphosis, hauntings, memories, hallucinations, revelations, advertising jingles and jokes. Rushdie has the power of description, and we succumb' The Times" "'Damnably entertaining and fiendishly ingenious. One of the very few current writers whose works are attempts at the great Bible, "the bright book of life" ' London Review of Books"

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dave_42 on 20 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
"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 Ayatollah Khomeini against the author Salman Rushdie (Happy Valentine's Day, Salman). The claim was that the book was very insulting to Muslims, and the controversy itself caused many who had never read the book to issue strong opinions about it. It also had the effect of getting many to buy it that otherwise would not have, and stop people from buying and reading it who otherwise might have. I'm sad to admit that I fall into the latter category, having allowed the controversy to steer me away not only from "The Satanic Verses", but from all of Salman Rushdie's works. The loss has been mine.

A story dealing with immigration into a different culture, and the loss of faith, the sections which caused the controversy are the dream sequences of a man who believes he is an angel, and even in the sequence which most applies to the prophet then the names are altered, though clearly Mahound is intended to be a representation of the prophet Muhammad, it is a representation which takes place in the dream of a delusional character. So ultimately, the controversy is about a piece of fiction which includes dreams from an unbalanced mind, and that is pretty much all that needs to be said regarding the supposed blasphemy, and of course free speech still allows one to write what one will, so even if it were blasphemy the violent response to it has been nothing short of obscene.

I found "The Satanic Verses" a difficult read as I struggled with some of his terms, and the narrative structure.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By AG on 26 July 2012
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing novel, which isn't given ample credit due to all the nonsense surrounding it.

It's not a breezy read. The prose is elaborate: expect long sentences and big words throughout. This is Rushdie's style, and some people don't like it, finding it impenetrable (or aren't bothered to penetrate it). But really get stuck in, because this is a brilliant novel.

The two main characters fall to England from an exploding plane, then undergo wacky transformations into a devil and an angel. Through their tortured London lives, Rushdie explores the migrant experience and the merging of people and cultures. Good and evil are entangled together in the characters of both men. The result is a vast, layered moral/social dialogue.

The narrative of the prophet Muhammed is genuinely brilliant. It caused a big - fatal - fuss, because it depicts Muhammed admitting the existence of the old Polytheistic deities, then taking it back. Rushdie also brings Muhammed's general reliability into question. For instance, he returns from a lonely ramble in the desert, proclaims to have been contacted by Allah, then gives orders accordingly. What's ingenius is that Rushdie never tries to convince us that Muhammed is a liar - he merely raises the prospect. We, as readers, form our own conclusions.

The story is genuinely engrossing and comic. The characters are deep and tortured. Some of the other reviewers on here seem to have been expecting a beach read. This certainly isn't - it's so much more than that!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By trottman on 4 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
Shortly after publication in 1988 I was given a copy of The Satanic Verses but for 25 years the book lurked on a bottom shelf thus neglected and ignored until during the lengthening evenings of retirement I finally decided to read Salman Rushdie's still famous great wheel of a book. A reader is certainly in divided company for reviews on Amazon swing between those who pay tribute to accomplished story telling, originality of subject and interesting character studies to those who dismiss the book as confusing, dull and tendentious. The book is written in a highly singular non linear style in which the past, present, locations and dream sequences jostle for a temporary supremacy. It is often difficult for the reader to remain fully conversant with developments but the final result is worth occasional bouts of impatience. Despite the erratic style the book is not a difficult or demanding read and is quite a page turner.

This middleweight fantasy is not a work of genius and the continuing fame is linked to the death sentence passed on the author. Rushdie has a number of targets in his sights, including the British police and immigration service and the strictures, aimed at Islam (involving the future status of three local goddesses) are mild in comparison and far less openly offensive than the depictions of the prophet which appeared in the Danish press some years ago. The book was published less than 10 years after the advent of a radical theocracy headed by a doctrinaire theologian who would tolerate absolutely no dissent and consequently a serious man of letters was forced to take sanctuary in unwarranted oblivion. To his credit Rushdie managed to come to terms with intolerable seclusion and formed worthy relationships with many of the police officers responsible for his safety.
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