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The Satanic Verses

Narrated by: Sagar Arya
Length: 23 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Just before dawn one winter’s morning, a hijacked aeroplane blows apart high above the English Channel and two figures tumble, clutched in an embrace, towards the sea: Gibreel Farishta, India’s legendary movie star, and Saladin Chamcha, the man of a thousand voices. 

Washed up, alive, on an English beach, their survival is a miracle. But there is a price to pay. Gibreel and Saladin have been chosen as opponents in the eternal wrestling match between Good and Evil. But chosen by whom? And which is which? And what will be the outcome of their final confrontation?

©1988 Salman Rushdie (P)2020 Audible, Ltd
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  • plori
  • 22-05-2020

Irreverent, mischievous study of "what is real?"

Very well read. I could pick bones with Arya's regional British accents but that takes up such a minor part of the novel. Anyway, hats off to anyone who can pronounce Ecclefechan, regardless of where they're from.

I can see why it seems to get such good reviews from those who have lived as emigrants from the sub continent in the West, and perhaps it is because this is not my background that I struggled to empathise much with characters and general plot in the present day sections. However I found the various dream sections to be more vivid and engaging, which I suppose is to be expected with the author's surreal style.

I preferred Midnight's Children.

As for the controversy, I think someone approaching the book with anti-"submission" sentiments will find sections of the book quite gratifying. If I could sum up the book in one word it would be "mischievous". Bad language, cultural subversion and the author's penchant for punctuating significant events with scatological references adds to the irreverent nature of the novel. Full of brilliant imagery and self-reference, in particular I thought the image of the metropolitan police helicopter "urinating" its beam of light on the crowd of protesting immigrants was about as Rushdie-y as it comes.

At its heart I think it's a study into the struggle in the human soul between the eternal spiritual and the temporal material, whether in 4th century "Jahilia" or in 20th century L-O-N-D-O-N.

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  • Sue Nelson
  • 10-06-2020

Brilliant delivery bringing out the humour

I had reservations about reading this book but eventually took the plunge and was so glad that I did. What a marvellous writer and such an incredible read darting between fantastic and somewhat dark situations and humorous incidents such to make one laugh out loud. The delivery is exceptional by Sagar who makes the almost impossible task of understanding the book's drifts and turns which often distort reality into a comprehensive and cohesive narrative emphasising its great wit. I am tempted to listen again but will have a pause before I do so. The visual memories of butterflies and the horror of immigration controls will remain with me for ever.

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  • Danny Ó Seachnasaigh
  • 09-06-2020

Very well written, surprising, sometimes insane

The book requires a second listen but overall I was satisfied with the story. It turned into something I did not expect and at times I struggled but was glad I made it through. Narration was brilliant.