I’m trying to fit one more novel into what has been a very busy summer. The Satanic Verses is most certainly Salman Rushdies’s most famous novel, largely because it almost got him killed. The book begins with a plane exploding in midair as it is flying from India to London (which made for fun in-flight reading on my recent trip to England). Two passengers miraculously survive the 40,000 foot fall, but find their lives have been dramatically changed. The prose is riveting, the characters eccentric, and the storyline bizarre. In short, The Satanic Verses is magical realism at its finest. I particularly loved the following paragraph, about Saladin Chamcha’s (one of the main characters) wife:
Pamela Chamcha, née Lovelace, was the possessor of a voice for which, in many way, the rest of her life had been an effort to compensate. It was a voice composed of tweeds, headscarves, summer pudding, hockey-sticks, thatched houses, saddle-soap, house-parties, nuns, family pews, large dogs and philistinism, and in spite of all her attempt to reduce its volume it was loud as a dinner-jacketed drunk throwing bread rolls in a Club. It had been the tragedy of her younger days that thanks to this voice she had been endlessly pursued by the gentlemen farmers and debs’ delights and somethings in the city whom she despised with all her heart, while the greenies and peacemarchers and world-changers with whom she instinctively felt at home treater her with deep suspicion, bordering on resentment.