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4.5 out of 5 stars24
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on 2 February 2006
Salman Rushdie’s novel “Shalimar The Clown” begins with the dedication for the author’s Kashimiri grandparents and is, basically, about Kashmir, about Hindu-Muslim relationship in the area, about the artists and cooks village of Pachigam, about two youngsters Muslim Shalimar the clown and Hindu beauty dancer Boonyi, about their love, inter-religious marriage, Boonyi’s betrayal, Shalimar’s revenge, and then, also, Indo-Pak war because of Kashmir. It’s a book about reality, about destroyed values, the book that goes deep into ones soul, involving everything life can involve and, as if, smiling through tears at life’s total absurdity. The author masterfully pictures the way life is, opens characters’ souls, showing their ambitions, dreams, expectations, jealousy, love, lust and hatred. The story of the novel, the message sent through the novel, the way the novel is written and author’s knowledge – all was pretty shocking to me. Technically, the novel is very harmonious which was very satisfying to read and every phrase and sentence seemed to be worth learning by heart, taken as the words of wisdom or just written on the walls of one’s room. Although the story is about Kashmiri people, about what was happening in Kashmir and India (and about Europe in WW2 and today’s LA), for me it seemed like a story about humans and humanity, no matter which religion or continent they belong to, solving the great questions of being. The novel has a magic to deeply involve it’s reader into the story and make one feel as the part of Pachigam, with the help of natural descriptions of the geographical places of Kashimir, make one feel as if walking by the river of Muskadoon, or see the giant Himalayas, smell the smell of the pine trees, closely observe the domestic live of the Pachigami people and take part in traditional festivals. Also, the novel contains a lot of symbolism and characters are covered in mystery…It was impossible to guess what comes next and what is the end of the story…The end was really smashing…The story itself was tragic and breathtaking. Salman Rushdie’s “Shalimar The Clown” was one of the best novels I have ever read. A master piece and the great work of art. Should be enjoyed by everyone who likes history, philosophy, literature, is interested in world's cultures, or simply by those who want to read a really good book.
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on 20 January 2007
With a rich and strongly descriptive style reminiscent of Midnight's Children, Rushdie tells the tale of a love affair gone wrong, polluted by conflict, lust, and betrayal.

The story takes places in different parts of the world, each described so vividly and in such detail that the reader is under the illusion of really being present.

Rushdie introduces a great number of exotic and interesting characters, whose life stories seem nothing but entertaining on the surface but are in fact full of symbolism.

This book, like all of the novels I have read by Rushdie, has multiple dimensions. On the surface it is a tale of a love affair tainted by betrayal and with horrific consequences. On a deeper level one finds the story of Kashmir, a beautiful region torn between Pakistan and India, losing its identity and its natural beauty in the conflict. The third dimension is that of the human struggle, what human beings might or might not do in the face of betrayal and oppression, feeling the need to redefine themselves, obtaining new goals and identities in order to survive and face up to their fate.

This book has left me with a deep impression of Kashmir, and with a sense of sadness for the loss of its beauty in the face of violence. Rushdie has touched me to the core with this novel.
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on 22 February 2012
This has been my first reading of a Rushdie novel. Overall, I found it engaging and thought-provoking. The flawed emotional relationships of the main characters - for example, between Shalimar and Boonyi, a love mutating into a right of possession - has parallels with the cynical, geopolitical context within which much of the action takes place, i.e. the despoiling of Kashmir.

I found the novel to be a demanding read, in that the Kashmir elements, in particular, are infused with countless cultural and historic references, the pronunciation of which fell hard upon my unfamiliar Western ear. More generally, the reader must also be tolerant of swathes of narrative summary.

There is extensive use of magical realism, engendering an allegorical tone to the story-telling. However, the imagery is excellent throughout and the use of language masterful.

One aspect of the writing I found grating was the author's extensive use of casual English (that is, mainly American idioms) in representing the speech of Kashmir villagers. For example:

`... the two of them would sing their magic songs:

Lo, the wild young girl has her mild young guy,
Save them, God, from the evil eye.'

This stylistic choice marred my enjoyment of the long section named after the village girl Boonyi.

The ending of the novel is certainly very strong, pulling together the strands of the imaginative plot.

Four stars from me.
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on 20 January 2007
With a rich and strongly descriptive style reminiscent of Midnight's Children, Rushdie tells the tale of a love affair gone wrong, polluted by conflict, lust, and betrayal.

The story takes places in different parts of the world, each described so vividly and in such detail that the reader is under the illusion of really being present.

Rushdie introduces a great number of exotic and interesting characters, whose life stories seem nothing but entertaining on the surface but are in fact full of symbolism.

This book, like all of the novels I have read by Rushdie, has multiple dimensions. On the surface it is a tale of a love affair tainted by betrayal and with horrific consequences. On a deeper level one finds the story of Kashmir, a beautiful region torn between Pakistan and India, losing its identity and its natural beauty in the conflict. The third dimension is that of the human struggle, what human beings might or might not do in the face of betrayal and oppression, feeling the need to redefine themselves, obtaining new goals and identities in order to survive and face up to their fate.

This book has left me with a deep impression of Kashmir, and with a sense of sadness for the loss of its beauty in the face of violence. Rushdie has touched me to the core with this novel.
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on 6 December 2005
This novel is a tale of love and revenge, of paradise torn asunder and a cultural lesson on Kashmir. The story takes us through Europe during the second world war, India and Kashmir over large parts of the 20th century, and California in modern day. As much as the story enchants, it is sometimes surrounded by too many lessons from our author. But when it picks up speed during the second half of the book, it is captivating, and the final pages are impossible to put down. A worthy read, Rushdie's language is mesmerizing, at least when he sticks to the story...
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on 9 October 2006
I read this a while ago with Amazon's special offer for shortlisted Booker prize authors. Like all his stuff it feels slightly surreal to start with, then as he pulls the curtains back on the scene you see a larger and larger context. I had read about the devastation of Kashmir but somehow this showed the complexity and the madness of it all, the rise of insurgence / extremism out of poverty when your beautiful country is being destroyed and you're caught between the monsters. The story line was compelling and the language as usual dry, humorous, rich, sardonic and made you quietly gasp in its understated description of horrific events both on a grand and personal scale. One of the best books I've read in a while.
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on 20 January 2007
With a rich and strongly descriptive style reminiscent of Midnight's Children, Rushdie tells the tale of a love affair gone wrong, polluted by conflict, lust, and betrayal.

The story takes places in different parts of the world, each described so vividly and in such detail that the reader is under the illusion of really being present.

Rushdie introduces a great number of exotic and interesting characters, whose life stories seem nothing but entertaining on the surface but are in fact full of symbolism.

This book, like all of the novels I have read by Rushdie, has multiple dimensions. On the surface it is a tale of a love affair tainted by betrayal and with horrific consequences. On a deeper level one finds the story of Kashmir, a beautiful region torn between Pakistan and India, losing its identity and its natural beauty in the conflict. The third dimension is that of the human struggle, what human beings might or might not do in the face of betrayal and oppression, feeling the need to redefine themselves, obtaining new goals and identities in order to survive and face up to their fate.

This book has left me with a deep impression of Kashmir, and with a sense of sadness for the loss of its beauty in the face of violence. Rushdie has touched me to the core with this novel.
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VINE VOICEon 13 March 2015
Shalimar The Clown is a beautifully written novel with a strong storyline painting a rich picture of a number of lives ruined by a shallow and transient affair between a US diplomat, Max Ophuls, and a beautiful young dancer Boonyi Noman, in the setting of Kashmir, a beautiful province devastated by fighting between India, Pakistan, and Kasmiri nationalists The fall-out ruins his career, makes her an outcast in her own community, and corrodes both their spouses, and eventually their daughter from the liaison (Kashmira). It is a novel wide-ranging in geo-political themes as well as rich in themes of love, revenge and honour, written in a sublime manner full of emotion, beatifully descriptive language and humour, that delivers a novel of such quality that only a writter with the skill of Rushdie is able to produce; a masterwork.
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on 20 August 2013
It has to be said, there is no-one to hold a candle to Rushdie when it comes to quality modern english language fiction. He is not clever for the sake of it (like Amis) not ponderous or worthy, just dazzlingly brilliant. His storytelling is like none other. Yes, Boonyi is the most challenging chapter for us westerners (though having just read A Suitable Boy, many of the character of Indian religion are becoming more familiar), but Max and Shalimar are breathtaking and exciting. This, along with The Moor's Last Sigh and The Enchantress of Florence are the most sublime romantic of his works, lyrical yet dramatic, poignant but fiery and above all just so beautiful to read. I could not recommend this more highly. Try Rushdie; it's not as hard as you might think and so much more rewarding than so many contemporary authors.
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on 20 January 2007
With a rich and strongly descriptive style reminiscent of Midnight's Children, Rushdie tells the tale of a love affair gone wrong, polluted by conflict, lust, and betrayal.

The story takes places in different parts of the world, each described so vividly and in such detail that the reader is under the illusion of really being present.

Rushdie introduces a great number of exotic and interesting characters, whose life stories seem nothing but entertaining on the surface but are in fact full of symbolism.

This book, like all of the novels I have read by Rushdie, has multiple dimensions. On the surface it is a tale of a love affair tainted by betrayal and with horrific consequences. On a deeper level one finds the story of Kashmir, a beautiful region torn between Pakistan and India, losing its identity and its natural beauty in the conflict. The third dimension is that of the human struggle, what human beings might or might not do in the face of betrayal and oppression, feeling the need to redefine themselves, obtaining new goals and identities in order to survive and face up to their fate.

This book has left me with a deep impression of Kashmir, and with a sense of sadness for the loss of its beauty in the face of violence. Rushdie has touched me to the core with this novel.
0Comment11 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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