Shalimar The Clown Hardcover – 1 Sep 2005
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'Rushdie combines the wonder of fairy tale with the grittiness of hard, political realism'. -- The Observer
'Rushdie is back on tip-top form with his inimitable high-octane prose.' -- Tatler Magazine
'Rushdie's greatest novel since 'The Satanic Verses'... There are few writers who can pull off such an act...transparent, extraordinary writing.' -- Los Angeles Times
'Shalimar the Clown finds [Rushdie]...writing at his best.' -- Evening Standard
'Shalimar...dramatises the fusion of personal calamity and - legitimate - political complaint into a volatile, and deadly, mixture of motives.' -- The Independent
'The book is a rare highwire act, a literary thriller.' -- Financial Times Magazine
'This is masterful fiction, to be sure, but, also and especially, all too real.' -- Newsweek International
'a magical-realist masterpiece that equals, and arguably surpasses, the achievements of 'Midnight's Children', 'Shame' and 'The Moor's Last Sigh'.' -- Kirkus
Like his best work, it traverses tumultuous passages of national history'. -- Philip Hensher, Telegraph
a book about the dark side of storytelling reminds us that nationhood and identity are not one and the same. -- David Robinson, The Scotsman
Rushdie's finest novel for years (2004-11-09)See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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.
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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