The Satanic Verses: questions on Parts 6-9 and final recap

The Satanic Verses

The Satanic Verses,
by Salman Rushdie,
1988
Literary fiction/Magical realism
576 pages
Goodreads
Buy the book on my Bookshop

In cased you missed our previous posts:
Pre-read discussion
Discussion on Parts 1 and 2
On Parts 3-4
On Part 5

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And now here are our questions and answers on Parts 6 to 9, and a final recap:

1. There is definitely more criticism against the Qur’an in these parts, especially regarding women. Though most of these are presented as Gibreel’s dreams. What do you think about this literary tool, inserting all these as dreams?

Marianne:
I have seen this with other authors, especially talking about Islam. They let animals speak. Or inanimate objects. I think it’s a good way to distance the author from the subject and give the reader the opportunity to get closer to the thoughts. The tool makes it possible to differentiate from your own thoughts and those of others, from something you might just think yourself or the general opinion. It is definitely a narrative style that brings me closer to magic realism.

Emma:
I took it as a way for the author to distance himself from his content. I assume he could measure that some passages of the book might not be too well received. But he could at least say, it’s not even anything my characters said or thought, but just dreamed.

2. What do you think about the way the author describes London’s hospitality? Do you think the author would still write these words today?

Marianne:
I think the world has become more hostile and more xenophobic, more racist in the last couple of years, especially with more refugees coming to our countries. (Mind you, the people who are most against those refugees are often in those areas that have the least.) So, if he would describe life in a large city with many immigrants today, he might describe an even worse life for them.

Emma:
For those who have not read the book, here is the passage I had in mind when I wrote the question:

London, its conglomerate nature mirroring his own, its reticence also his; its gargoyles, the ghostly footfalls in its streets of Roman feet, the honks of its departing migrant geese. Its hospitality — yes! — in spite of immigration laws, and his own recent experience, he still insisted on the truth of that: an imperfect welcome, true, one capable of bigotry, but a real thing, nonetheless, as was attested by the existence in a South London borough of a pub in which no language but Ukrainian could be heard.

I wrote some questions with an answer in mind, but for others like this one, I truly didn’t  know.
I assume there are still today in London (possibly even more?) areas where only one foreign language is spoken, but can it be considered today as a sign of hospitality? Maybe not. Marianne, I agree with your analysis of the situation.
Actually, why didn’t Rushdie stay in England? Did he have an issue with the way they reacted to foreigners at the time?
Well, I was curious and went fishing of Rushdie shared his opinion on London and I found this in am article from The Guardian (9/17/2000):

Salman Rushdie has revealed that he left London, his home since childhood, because he thought it was bitchy and uninspiring…
In an interview in today’s New York Times, Rushdie, who faced an Islamic death threat over his book The Satanic Verses, talks with relish of his new life in Manhattan. He moved to New York earlier this year and has been given celebrity status.
He said that London’s literary circles were ‘backbiting and incestuous’.
He said : ‘I think it speaks for itself that, for somebody who lived in England for as long as I did, relatively little of my work has dealt with it.’

So apparently, his reason for leaving has really nothing to do with immigration.

3. As Salahuddin returns to Bombay, Zeeny gives him the following advice: “You should really try and make an adult acquaintance with this place, this time. Try and embrace this city, as it is, not some childhood memory that makes you both nostalgic and sick. Draw it close. The actually existing place. Make its faults your own. Become its creature; belong.”
Why these advice now, not about London, but about the character’s city of origin?

Marianne:
Wherever you go, you always have an image in your mind. When you go to some place you haven’t seen before, you might be inclined to have an open mind and not expect everything the way you have seen it in books or on tv. When you return to a place you have been to, you often don’t bear that in mind. I returned to my home area after having been away for 40 years. Am I disappointed that things have changed? No, on the contrary. I would have been if it were still the same. But I didn’t return because I loved it so much as a child, after all, there was a reason I left, but because my family is here. And that makes all the difference.

So, I totally understand the advice given to Saladin because I would have said the same. It’s always best if you make a place your own, sometimes that’s not possible but when you are from the area, it’s easier to be accepted.

Emma:
When reading previous parts of the book, I thought migration was THE main theme. Now, I think migration is a sub-theme of the major one: identity and transformation. Indeed, the main characters go back to India, not necessarily because their migration experience failed.
I see this passage as an invitation to a more mature view on the place where one lives. And maybe the fact of having lived as a foreigner in another country can make this easier to do.
Though personally, if I had to go back to my country of origin, I don’t think I would be able to go beyond my memories of the “golden age” of the past (i.e., as the country was when I was younger) and accept how it has changed since. From what I hear from relatives still living there, I would definitely not like it.

4. Gibreel is originally portrayed as the successful immigrant, with the divine and angelic images, but he is sick in his mind and ends up committing suicide. Chamcha, who has suffered most in his immigration experience, and was associated with devilish imagery, seems now the more normal and balanced of the two. How do you explain this reversal?

Marianne:
People are never what they seem. You meet someone, they seem nice but turn out to be just friendly to your face. Someone else seems a bit odd and in the end you notice they are just shy but the friendliest people you can imagine. I think we can also go back to the fall, it represents a great change for the people, well, most of them die, these two survive but their characters change forever. The whole portrayal of the two men is ambiguous.

Emma:
I see it as a statement on the fact that migration is a complex adventure. It’s not all black or all white, all bad or all evil.
And to go back to the theme of identity, I think Rushdie wants also to highlight the fact that human nature is also complex, and that we all have a part of good and evil.
Marianne, I like how you focus on the appearance. Indeed, especially when we meet people form another culture, we may interpret what we see with our own cultural standards, and end up misunderstanding and misjudging them.

5. Why do you think Rushdie has chosen to tell the story of Saladin’s father’s death in this final chapter? How does it relate to the rest of the novel? What functions does it serve at the end of the book?

Marianne:
Closure? I don’t know whether it is important to the whole story, it gives an insight into the future (Saladin’s). Also, the reconciliation between father and son leads us to the assumption that there is something good even in the evil, the idea that Saladin might become a “good” human being again.

Emma:
In the last parts, there is often mention of love vs. hatred, and the theme of forgiveness. The encounter between Saladin and his dying father is an important example of forgiveness. And I think it’s connected with what we talked above, how we grow, are transformed, and are able to come back to a country (or to a relation) with a new look on life and people.
It seems that Saladin has grown and profited a lot from his experience of migration.

6. There’s a powerful passage on love vs. hate:
“He [Saladin] congratulated himself on being the sort of person who had found hatred impossible to sustain for long. Maybe, after all, love was more durable than hate; even if love changed, some shadow of it, some lasting shape, persisted…
Hatred was perhaps like a finger-print upon the smooth glass of the sensitive soul; a mere grease-mark, which disappeared if left alone. Gibreel? Pooh! He was forgotten; he no longer existed. There; to surrender animosity was to become free.”
Any reflection on this?

Marianne:
Well, hopefully love does last longer than hate though I would doubt that. A strong feeling is a strong feeling and many people cannot forgive. And even more are not willing to forgive or see the other side. Look at the situation we are all in right now.

Emma:
I like a lot this passage, it illustrates my answer to question 5 actually.
I like the idea that love can be more permanent, and hate as a passing feeling. But again, I think this implies growth and transformation.
It’s powerful that Saladin even forgives Gibreel and all he represented.
Saladin’s father is a good example of inner transformation:

But it [cancer] had also stripped him of his faults, of all that had been domineering, tyrannical and cruel in him, so that the mischievous, loving and brilliant man beneath lay exposed, once again, for all to see.

7. What do you think about the structure of the book? Was it satisfying for you? What is its purpose?

Marianne:
The narrative structure is quite complex, it had to be with a book like this. The alternation between dreams and “truth” was very instructive. It made it easier to understand.

Emma:
The back and forth between the present and the past was a bit confusing here for me (though I do like it in many other books). And I’m not sure about its purpose here.
As for the dreams, I was trying to remember as I read, ok now this is part of the a dream, but it was interrupting the flow, and ultimately I thought maybe it was not that important.

8. Did you find the ending satisfactory?

Marianne:
I wasn’t unhappy about it. I would have expected something a little more confusing given the whole book seemed to get more and more incoherent.

Emma:
I was actually surprised that the main characters went back to their country, I was not expecting that. But I like the fact that Saladin is given another chance, and has grown a lot throughout the book.

9. What do you think is the author’s ultimate message?

Marianne:
That’s hard to say. Somewhere, I read this was not about islam but about immigrants. I thought only I had seen it that way, having been a foreigner most of my life. One always tends to see what we have experienced ourselves. I would think he wants to present both topics. And probably a bit more.

Emma:
Human nature is complex, and it’s important not to judge too quickly. Life experience is complex but can be enriching if we accept to follow the flow. Then we can grow and experience a satisfying transformation.
This is the message I got personally, but Rushdie’s intent was different I a sure. I actually thought this was not about Islam, and realize it’s actually more than I thought.

Anyway, Rushdie is very critical of any religion. Yesterday, while reading another book that has nothing to do with this one, I read that the root of the word hypocrite means actor. There are a lot of actors in this book. And I actually wonder if Rushdie thought about the etymological connection between these words when he decided to include so many actors (beside the fact that he would have liked to have a career as an actor). People who are critical of religion often talk about hypocrisy, that’s my point here, sorry for my convoluted reflection!

10. Did the book fulfill your expectations of it? Did you like it, why or why not?

Marianne:
After having read “Midnight’s Children“, I was expecting a tough read. And a lot of food for thought. And a lot of stimulation, discussion topics. I did get that. I would have liked some more comments but I hope they will still come in the future.

Emma:
I am glad I finally read one of his major novels and I enjoyed it. I found it extremely rich (in cultural references for instance for the ones I could catch!!)
But at the same time, I feel I barely scratched the surface of its content, even though we did a very close reading, thanks to our questions, and even though I read several essays and analysis! This is the type of book (Umberto Eco’s are other good examples of that) for which I would benefit having a semester of classes!
I was a bit apprehensive as for the religious aspects, but it really didn’t bother me (even the scene of the partying of the sea is more based on a real event than on the Biblical event).

11. Would you consider The Satanic Verses as a good example of the magical realism genre?

Marianne:
Yes and no. At some points, the dreams are far too “fantastic”, at other places, it interweaves too much with reality. We swap from strange to ordinary, we are given a mirror of our lives.

Emma:
I’m not sure either. I have read several books described as pertaining to the magical realism genre, but I don’t only see what they really have in common. For me, Murakami is a better representative.

12. Was there anything you wish was explored that wasn’t?

Marianne:
I doubt it. Towards the end, there was so much to deal with already, I wouldn’t have wished more topics on top of those already presented.

Emma:
It would have been interesting to deal with Islamic elements more in the scenes related to the present than those in the past (or outside of dreams), but I understand that would have been too tricky to do!

13. Are you planning on reading more books by Rushdie?

Marianne:
The narrative structure is quite complex, it had to be with a book like this. The alternation between dreams and “truth” was very instructive. It made it easier to understand.

Emma:
I definitely want to explore more of his older novels. Or I may actually read soon his memoir, Joseph Anton.

14. What did you think about our buddy-read experience? Is it something you would like to do again?

Marianne:
I definitely would love to do it again. Maybe November wasn’t a good month to choose such a heavy book, so we didn’t have many comments. But just exchanging our thoughts, Emma’s and mine, added a lot to the experience of the book. That was great!

Emma:
Marianne, I’m very grateful you accepted to do this with me on this challenging book. Even though I enjoyed the book, if we had not planned to do that I might have dragged my feet and who knows, maybe even DNF the book, because of its complexity and the time I needed to invest to try to get a better reading of it.
Thanks for your questions that challenged me to go deeper, and for your answers that often invited me to look at things differently.
Yes, my mistake in suggesting November!
Let me know if you want to do this again next year on another book, during an easier month!

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Here is our full schedule:

  1. November 1st: introductory post at Words And Peace
  2. Between November 8-12: questions + answers on the first 23% of the book (up to end of PART II. Stop before “Ellowen Deeowen”) at Let’s Read
  3. Between Nov 15-19:  questions + answers on the second quarter of the book (stop before V. A City Visible but Unseen), at Words And Peace
  4. Between Nov 22-26:  questions + answers on the third quarter of the book (stop before VI. Return to Jahilia) at  Let’s Read
  5. Between Nov 29-December 3: last quarter of the book and conclusion questions at Words And Peace

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK
FEEL FREE TO ADD YOUR COMMENTS ANY TIME

The Satanic Verses: questions on Part 5

The Satanic Verses

The Satanic Verses,
by Salman Rushdie,
1988
Literary fiction/Magical realism
576 pages
Goodreads
Buy the book on my Bookshop

In cased you missed our previous posts:
Pre-read discussion
Discussion on Parts 1 and 2
Discussion on Parts 3 and 4

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And now here are Marianne’s questions on Part 5:

1.  What do you think about this chapter’s title? Which city is meant and why is she both seen and unseen?

2. Why is Jumpy Joshi looking after Saladin? Do you think he is feeling guilty and trying to make amends? How does their relationship change during the chapter?

3. Why do you think Saladin is upset when he hears that Gibreel is still alive? The author gives the resentment that he didn’t help him with the police as a reason but could there be other, underlying ones?

4. Alleluia Cone is another immigrant, or descendent of immigrants. However, she is European and therefore not as easily recognizable as her Indian counterparts. How do you think this contributes to the story? Do you think the understanding between European and non-European immigrants is larger than between immigrants and non-immigrants? Do you think it is easier for immigrants who look more like someone from the host nation?

5. Why do you think God calls himself “the Fellow Upstairs”, Gibreel names him “the Guy from Underneath”?

6.  Why do you think his visions are explained with schizophrenia? Is it the easy way out?

7. Do we think the subject of Good and Evil is well explored and explained in this chapter?

And please now go to Marianne’s post to see our answers.
Feel free to add your own answers n the comment section.

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Here is our full schedule:

  1. November 1st: introductory post at Words And Peace
  2. Between November 8-12: questions + answers on the first 23% of the book (up to end of PART II. Stop before “Ellowen Deeowen”) at Let’s Read
  3. Between Nov 15-19:  questions + answers on the second quarter of the book (stop before V. A City Visible but Unseen), at Words And Peace
  4. Between Nov 22-26:  questions + answers on the third quarter of the book (stop before VI. Return to Jahilia) at  Let’s Read
  5. Between Nov 29-December 3: last quarter of the book and conclusion questions at Words And Peace

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

The Satanic Verses: questions on Parts 3 and 4

The Satanic Verses

The Satanic Verses,
by Salman Rushdie,
1988
Literary fiction/Magical realism
576 pages
Goodreads
Buy the book on my Bookshop

In cased you missed our previous posts:
Pre-read discussion
Discussion on Parts 1 and 2

  📚 📚 📚  

And now here are our questions and answers on Parts 3 and 4:

1. Compared to Parts 1 and 2, does Rushdie use the same techniques here to introduce humor?

Marianne:
Funnily enough, I can only see one thing, either humour or fantasy. Since this one goes more into the second direction, it’s hard for me to see the humour though I can recognize it at parts. So, I wouldn’t be able to say whether it’s the same kind of humour or a different one. Does that even make sense?
He does mention a few fairy tales we are familiar with, grandmother’s house from Little Red Riding Hood, Rosa being “white as snow …” from Snow White. And I know there are other allusions to other stories, history and religion. That I found quite funny.

Emma:
I like how he keeps playing with names, though this time going back in history sometimes, like with Willie-the-Conk. With the impact the Conqueror has had on the evolution of England, for instance in language, it makes sense that he would show up in this part of the book that’s becoming more obviously about the hazards and dangers of migration.
There are many fun references to literature. I’ll mention Kafka down below, but there’s also Don Quixote (a character Rushdie particularly enjoys, see my review of his novel on him), when he talks about “Maslama’s windmilling arms”.
In this part, I feel the humor becomes even more satire, as the author targets more social behaviors, especially against migrants.
And as usual, there are many hilarious Hinglish terms and references. I didn’t even know the term Hinglish before reading this book!

2. What do you think about the transformations of the main protagonists here?

Marianne:
I think the changes not only in the two protagonists but also in some of the other characters (not as large as that of Gibreel and Saladin but changes nonetheless) might have something to do with the changes any immigrant goes through in his or her new country. We don’t stay the same. I always say I am not completely German but I also didn’t change into a Belgian, a Brit or a Dutch person. It could also explain some changes in the religious views of the people when changing culture (which wasn’t the fact for me as the countries I lived in are all mainly Christian).
I read somewhere that many people see immigrants (especially from other cultures) almost identical to animals and therefore Saladin was transformed into a goat. Could be. A lot of Westerners are definitely prone to looking at people from other cultures, religions and races as below themselves. Which is, of course, rubbish. But a good point to show people what they do with that point of view.

Emma:
I talked a bit about when commenting on Parts 1 and 2.
The surah that’s at the origin of the book’s title is called The Star. If we switch now to the Christian tradition, the name Lucifer (used often in connection with Venus and already present in mythology) became associated with the devil (for instance in the interpretation of Isaiah 14:12). So with the fall of the two protagonists, and two (movie) stars on top of it, it leads naturally to the possibility that one of them would be a figure of the devil.
There are many aspects of migration in these parts of the book. A big one is the necessary reinvention of oneself and of one’s world:
“He was in a void, and if he were to survive he would have to construct everything from scratch, would have to invent the ground beneath his feet before he could take a step.”
So much so that one could lose one’s own identity:
“Looking into the mirror at his altered face, Chamcha attempted to remind himself of himself. I am a real man, he told the mirror, with a real history and a planned-out future. “
Here again, I so understand this! In my review of a book of an another Indian author who has jumped into another culture, I did explain that deep down, I actually do not feel the same person when I am back in France and speak French, and when I speak in English in my everyday American life.
Marianne, I see we have a somewhat similar experience here.
However, the loss of identity is taken to its extreme here.
Earlier on in the book, I had not made the connection of Chamcha’s name with the sound of Samsa’s! Samsa’s is turned into a bug, this is bad enough.
Poor Chamcha becomes a beast, with all the attributes folklore has attributed to the devil. And including the fact that horns are supposed to be ornating the brow of cuckolds (also present here).
So if Chamcha becomes the devil, it makes sense Gibreel, used to appear in theological movies, would turn into the figure of a saint, with a halo. Though in this part so far, Rushdie is not focusing as much on him.
Unless he is here again Chamcha’s counterpart and stands for the migrant who does manage the leap. The author refers to Gibreel’s “talent for embracing renewal, for blinding himself to past hardships so that the future could come into view.” It seems to go with his willingness to embrace new laws: “a small series of prohibitions and instructions gladdened his heart”–which may be just another to lose one’s own identity actually.
Anyway, Gibreel’s situation is not all rosy either, as others tend to consider him insane, as mentioned a few times. He has also been on a “futile journey in search of the chimera of renewal”. And if Chamcha’s name sounds like Samsa’s, it’s actually Gibreel (if I’m not mistaken) who is described at one point as having “the look of a large, dying beetle.”

3. We now see more clearly the focus on the theme of migration and exile. Any comments on that?

Marianne:
As I mentioned in question 2, the transformation of the protagonists, it is quite clear now why that happens and what the author wants to tell us with that. No matter whether we want to or not, we have to change, even if only a little bit, when living in a foreign country, otherwise we will always be the “other”.
I guess we need to come back to page 41 and the following quote:
“How far did they fly? Five and a half thousand as the crow. Or: from Indianness to Englishness, an immeasurable difference. Or, not very far at all, because they rose from one great city, fell to another.” It always depends on your attitude.

Emma:
It’s neat how Rushdie looks at this theme at so many levels. The first being the weather. I totally relate to that as I migrated from fairly average French weather to crazy cold and snowy Iowa in April 2001. This was a shock to see so much snow in April, and my friends were like, no big deal, that’s normal here… So I can imagine Gilbreel’s own shock as he woke up after his forced landing:
“Gibreel Farishta awoke with a mouth full of, no, not sand. Snow.” And I like how Rushdie’s style in this sentence makes the reader feel even more this first cultural shock.
There are also many passages on how the authorities are treating “illegals”. To the point of resorting to extreme and unethical measures if these so-called illegals turn up to be actually citizens of that country, despite their different look (color of skin or more general appearance).
And obviously food is important in that respect, “this filthy foreign food”!
And not only does one need to reinvent oneself, as mentioned above, but in the new land, one becomes the stranger, the other, so other as to be ultimately seen as a monster and a devil, the source of all evils: 
“‘They describe us,’ the other whispered solemnly. ‘That’s all. They have the power of description, and we succumb to the pictures they construct.”’
With all the above, the ultimate shock is to realize the country you were dreaming of migrating to is so very different than the one you had in your head:
“”This isn’t England,’ he thought, not for the first or last time.
How could it be, after all; where in all that moderate and common–sensical land was there room for such a police van in whose interior such events as these might plausibly transpire?”
Rushdie also quotes several verses of a powerful passage of the Bible about migrants, maybe one of the most poignant, Psalm 137.
This is so funny that Rushdie also refers to Boney M., who had this super popular song (even in France!), By the Rivers of Babylon, which quotes this same psalm.

4. How do you understand the whole episode between Gibreel and Rosa? What’s the point? Why is she the first to meet the main heroes after their fall?

Marianne:
I suppose someone had to see Gibreel and Saladin first. It’s not such a surprise that it’s a stranger to both of them. Rosa can be representative for all the people who welcome foreigners into their homes without even realizing how different they are. In that respect, we definitely need more people like Rosa. Also, it looks like there are several people in the novel who don’t really know what’s going on, who have “visions”.

Emma:
I’m not too sure about this, even after reading Daniel Balderstone’s article on Rosa. This whole passage seems to be an obscure pastiche of Argentina and/or other South American countries.
I only see this as an extra text on the migration experience, but I got lost here and I am not sure what specific ideas are highlighted in Rosa’s story. She seems to be the ultimate and symbolic migrant, hence she’s the first one finding Gibreel and Chamcha after their fall.

5. Ayesha appears in two forms. Why? What does she stand for? What about this whole thing about eating butterflies?

Marianne:
I’ve been wondering why there are several Ayeshas in the novel. Either, it is a very, very common name (I don’t think so) the author wants to confuse us (I doubt that, as well). So, there must be a link. Maybe she was named Ayesha after the Empress of Desh (one half of Bangla-Desh?) who is the enemy of the Imam (who has been compared to the Ayatollah Khomeini who issued the fatwa against Salman Rushdie). Maybe the young Ayesha, the main Ayesha, was named after her. It could be a coincidence but I don’t believe in coincidences in novels. Well, this Ayesha claims to get messages from the archangel. And then, maybe as a sign, her dress turns into butterflies. Apparently, there is a local legend it that the butterflies are the familiar spirits of a woman named Bibiji, a saint who lived to for 240 years and died 120 years ago. I also read that butterflies stand for metamorphosis and rebirth. Makes sense, after all, they changed from caterpillars into the beautiful beings. And here we are again at the subject of immigrants.

Emma:
We have talked a lot about change, transformation, and metamorphosis. Even though they go hand in hand with the experience of migration, our main heroes have had a hard time with it. Ayesha on the other hand, seems to be embracing change, to the point of absorbing it, as I see in the weird scenes where she eats butterflies, the common symbol of transformation and transmutation.
A note I read says it’s also a reference to One Hundred Years of Solitude. Alas, I don’t remember this in Gabriel García Márquez’s book.
Thanks Marianne for your reference to a local legend.
I feel like I miss so many references, even though we have access to many tools to better understand this book! It is so rich with so many allusions.

6. And what about the character of the imam?

Marianne:
As I mentioned above, the Imam is often compared to the Ayatollah Khomeini. I wouldn’t be surprised if Salman Rushdie thought about him when writing the story. After all, he was in the news all the time and most people were more than accustomed to his picture.
The Imam is the exact opposite of our two protagonists. He doesn’t change at all. He’d rather bring his culture and religion to other countries than accepting only a little from there. As I mentioned above, he will always be “the other”.

Emma:
With his love for imposing his will and rules and his obsession for purity (he only accepts to drink filtered water), the imam is the total opposite of Ayesha’s figure. He refuses changes and only wants stability.
Added to that a third ability, the one of summoning or conjuring up Gibreel (as an image of the archangel), he is a satirical depiction of Ayatollah Khomeini, which now explains more to me why the Iranian leader did object to the book to the point of calling for its author’s assassination. Even though he probably never read the book, as Rushdie remarked at the time.
The imam is also presented as an exile, and Rushdie seems to make a big difference between an exile and an immigrant. Is it that different? Is Rushdie making reference to his own experience? (It would be interesting to know about Rushdie’s reaction when he arrived in England in his teens for education).
Though better than the migrant experience of Chamcha and Gibreel, it is not presented as paradise either: “Paranoia, for the exile, is a prerequisite of survival”. “Exile is a soulless country.” “In exile all attempts to put down roots look like treason: they are admissions of defeat”.

7. And any other question you would like to address!

Marianne:
I would have hundreds of questions to any of the characters (the women in the novel, for example), the reason why some parts are more magic realism than others, etc. It would be great to discuss this novel in person, each with a book and a notepad in our hands. We could come up with so many more points. But I think, that’s enough for today. After all, there are still three more reading and discussion weeks ahead of us.

Thanks Marianne for your input. Yes, we could definitely spend several months just studying every line of this book!

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Here is our full schedule:

  1. November 1st: introductory post at Words And Peace
  2. Between November 8-12: questions + answers on the first 23% of the book (up to end of PART II. Stop before “Ellowen Deeowen”) at Let’s Read
  3. Between Nov 15-19:  questions + answers on the second quarter of the book (stop before V. A City Visible but Unseen), at Words And Peace
  4. Between Nov 22-26:  questions + answers on the third quarter of the book (stop before VI. Return to Jahilia) at  Let’s Read
  5. Between Nov 29-December 3: last quarter of the book and conclusion questions at Words And Peace

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK