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review 2019-08-18 15:02
Read for real life book club
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights - Salman Rushdie

It's Rushdie so the writing is wonderful. And quite frankly, the ending is stunning.

However, there seems to be a tad too much joy in the descriptions of older men having sex with younger women who are so overwhelmed by the handsomeness of said older men.

And no, the whole backstory does not make the incest any less icky. Sorry, guess I'm a prude

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text 2019-08-10 14:20
This is not a drill
Black Leopard, Red Wolf - Marlon James
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights - Salman Rushdie

1. Warner Bros and Michael B. Jordan have the rights to James' Black Leopard, Red Wolf.

 

2. Got a nice surprise last night.  Started the read for my real life book club, Rushdie Two Years Yada Yada.  Brought it from Thriftbooks for five books.  Opened it and it is a signed first edition.

 

 

I don't know which makes me happier to be honest. 

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review 2019-01-28 01:22
The Golden House: A Novel - Salman Rushdie

A great, masterfully told, timely book.

 

Supposedly this book was Rushdie's commentary on the Obama years. While it didn't have a lot to do with presidential politics, it certainly brought the feelings of being alive and online 2009-2015.

 

Mostly, though, this was a complexly plotted, intricate story of some fascinating characters in early 21st century America.

 

Reading the back flap, I thought this was going to be some sort of fictionalized Donald Trump, but although there are some really surface similarities between Nero Golden and Donald Trump, I think they aren't important to the story.

 

The part that I think will resonate with me the most is the sad story of D Golden -- not because of his (very 21st century) gender dysphoria, but because of the theme of "Identity" -- D was being asked, forced, etc. to choose an identity-- was he Male or Female, Trans, Pre-op Trans, or some different shade of whatever.

 

In the end, I think Rushdie's message is that we need to love and respect each other, and that labels don't matter. Rushdie saw that in India in the last century -- Once the country was partitioned into Hindu vs Muslim, those divisions became a matter of life and death in places where it didn't matter before (in Shalimar the Clown's Kashmir or Midnight's Children/Golden House's Bombay). Allowing labels to divide us causes further and further division until no-one can see eye to eye with anyone unless they think exactly the same.

 

So maybe, we shouldn't worry so much about whether someone is a republican or a democrat, whether someone is gay or straight, cis or trans, woke or TERF, and stop trying to stick labels onto people who can't/won't/shouldn't be labeled.

 

I dunno. It was a good book 5 stars.

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review 2018-11-14 00:04
The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie

I've been hesitant to read this one, because I heard that it doesn't quite live up to the legend surrounding it.

 

In case you don't remember the hoopla about this book, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Satanic_Verses_controversy should get you up to speed.

 

I also read Joseph Anton before I read this, which was really interesting and shows that truth is almost as strange and compelling as fiction.

 

 

Anyways, in short? No, this doesn't live up to the hype. How could it? That being said, this is definitely a Major Work and one of Salman Rushdie's better novels.

 

 

Was it blasphemous? Well, I might be a bit offended if I were a muslim, as it does fictionalize an account of the prophet Muhammad, and gently question him. I could see how it could offend people, but honestly? a death sentence for a non-believer? That's beyond the pale. I am firmly in the camp that nobody can tell the other team what to do or not to do. I drew a stick figure on Draw Muhammed day, too. Je Suis Charlie.

 

Anyway, any ideology that can't take this gentle of a ribbing obviously won't stand up to serious intellectual scrutiny anyways. I've heard Jesus jokes before. I don't repeat them, but I also don't kill those who make them.

 

 

...but was the book good? Yeah, it was. A little tough to follow in parts, but great. It had about 6 intertwining sets of characters/storylines, some of which shared names, etc. They didn't come together the way I expected (which was a good thing) and kept me guessing until the end what was going to happen.

 

I love how the book starts out-- with a conversation between two guys falling from an exploding plane at 24,000 feet... It only gets weirder from there.

 

In the end, I think Rushdie's message was about ideas and power. How do the powerless act towards the powerful, and how do they act when the roles are reversed? That's also interesting in light of the book's controversy, as a certain powerful world religion with millions of followers with AK-47s, and their reaction to one (mostly) powerless author is telling.

 

 

One thing that surprised me about the book, is I expected the Devil to become a major character. There were a few small hints throughout that our characters were being manipulated by some nefarious force, but in the end, it just ended up being their own human faults that drove them onward.

 

Oh-- and a very, very Rushdiesque moment-- there's a character, Alleluia Cone, always described as imposing, cold, maybe icy. ...and then 3/4 of the way through the book, Rushdie calls her "The Icequeen Cone" and I almost fell over laughing... all that setup for a pun. Oh man, I love Rushdie's writing. It works on so many levels, including stupid puns.

(spoiler show)

 

Also, the novel does a good job of describing the cultural circumstances of contemporary (80s) London. Boy, there was a lot of racism and badness happening. Apparently 80s London was way more "Guns of Brixton" than "Our House". I have a hard time imagining that much racist badness happening in my lifetime, in the era of Princess Di. Guess that's my privilege showing again.

 

Anyway, a great book. Not Rushdie's best, because he's a fantastic author, but a great book nonetheless.

 

 

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review 2018-10-23 04:18
Shalimar the Clown - Salman Rushdie

One of Rushdie's best.

 

Somehow managing to span continents and worlds in the way that only Rushdie can do, our character Shalimar the Clown manages to learn dying kashmiri folk art, mujahdeen terrorism, how to join a prison gang, and how to drive a deLorean.

 

Complex and interwoven, it manages to break down the boundaries between east and west, between good and evil, between political and personal.

 

Aw heck, read it already.

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