Shalimar The Clown

My Review in very reviewy language Wonderful All of Rushdie s powers are at play here but perhaps the most striking is his exploration of the social and psychological borderland between visceral

My Review (in very "reviewy" language)Wonderful. All of Rushdie's powers are at play here, but perhaps the most striking is his exploration of the social and psychological borderland between visceral, emotional impulse and ideological motivation. What motivates someone to become an assassin, a terrorist, a murderer? And in the enlongated moment of that decision, how do personal, emotional wounds gain political currency enough to justify killing someone? Or killing many people? (For a second there, I thought I writing a college english paper...)What it got me thinking about....This is certainly a timely book. I think it challenges us to remember that wars are fought by human beings - damaged, broken, human beings who are doing their best to search for truth and meaning. While I certainly wouldn't suggest that Rushdie is saying anything in particular about the U.S./Iraq war, or about our dear President, I do think that this book is an opportunity to rethink our popular thinking. It's an opportunity to remember that "terrorists" (a word that will never shrug off the emotional weight of September 11), or our "enemies," do not "hate freedom." They do not have a "complete disregard for human life." They are not heartless. They are, in fact, human beings, motivated by their hearts, by their emotions, by a desire to protect their own vision of freedom and of life. As are "we."This is not to say that Shalimar (the character) is a role model or anything. Far from it. He's just very very....human. Amidst all of this, I do think the novel maintains a certainly apolitical space. We all love to pigeonhole Rushie into political allegory, myself included, but hey people... the guy is also writing about love and vengeance. There's so much to say about the emotional, human side of these characters, about the way people grow and change in the book. But my fingers are getting tired.... just read it. It's real good....Popular Shalimar The Clown By Salman Rushdie Viral Book From Publishers WeeklyStarred Review For Westerners, Rushdie s latest may be better heard than read While readers might stumble over the Kashmiri, Indian and Pakistani names and accents, Mandvi glides right through them, allowing us to engage with Rushdie s well wrought characters and sagas Mandvi has a calm, quiet storyteller voice, often employing tempo to express emoFrom Publishers WeeklyStarred Review For Westerners, Rushdie s latest may be better heard than read While readers might stumble over the Kashmiri, Indian and Pakistani names and accents, Mandvi glides right through them, allowing us to engage with Rushdie s well wrought characters and sagas Mandvi has a calm, quiet storyteller voice, often employing tempo to express emotional states and to make long, complex sentences entirely clear In fact, one realizes he is nearly invisible until he reads a few lines in a Romance language , leaving us to relish the sounds and images and rhythms of Rushdie s language The book begins at the end, with the murder of the former American ambassador to India, Maximilian Ophuls, now a counterterrorist expert, then introduces his murderer, Shalimar the Clown, Kashmiri actor and acrobat cum terrorist, and Ophuls s illegitimate daughter, India, who brings the book to a conclusion as terror filled and ambiguous as our own future Suspense and tension are superbly built and layered through mythology and plots of lust and jealousy intertwined with cultural, religious, national and international affairs Rushdie does get polemical for a while, even didactic his writing in these sections sometimes sounds speechifying Yet we come away with a mostly lyrical parable that offers us a way of grappling with the realities of our time and place, a way of refracting history through multiple lenses Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc All rights reserved Dazzling Modern thriller, Ramayan epic, courtroom drama, slapstick comedy, wartime adventure, political satire, village legend they re all blended here magnificently The Washington Post Book WorldThis is the story of Maximilian Ophuls, America s counterterrorism chief, one of the makers of the modern world his Kashmiri Muslim driver and subsequent killer, a mysterious figure who calls himself Shalimar the clown Max s illegitimate daughter India and a woman who links them, whose revelation finally explains them all It is an epic narrative that moves from California to Kashmir, France, and England, and back to California again Along the way there are tales of princesses lured from their homes by demons, legends of kings forced to defend their kingdoms against evil And there is always love, gained and lost, uncommonly beautiful and mortally dangerous A commanding story a harrowing climax Revenge is an ancient and powerful engine of narrative The New York Times Book Review Absorbing Everywhere Rushdie takes us there is both love and war, in strange and terrifying combinations, painted in swaying, swirling, world eating prose that annihilates the borders between East and West, love and hate, private lives and the history they make Time A vast, richly peopled, beautiful and deeply rageful book that serves as a profound and disturbing artifact of our times San Francisco Chronicle Marvelous brilliant a story worthy of Rushdie s genius Detroit Free PressONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR The Washington Post Book World Los Angeles Times Book Review St Louis Post Dispatch Rocky Mountain NewsONE OF THE BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR Time Chicago Tribune The Christian Science Monitor. Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a novelist and essayist Much of his early fiction is set at least partly on the Indian subcontinent His style is often classified as magical realism, while a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world.His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, led to protests from Muslims in several countries, some of which were violent Faced with death threats and a fatwa religious edict issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Supreme Leader of Iran, which called for him to be killed, he spent nearly a decade largely underground, appearing in public only sporadically In June 2007, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to literature , which thrilled and humbled him In 2007, he began a five year term as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University.. Bestseller Books Shalimar The Clown a smart young lady trying to find herself in California. the assassination of her father - America's counterterrorism chief. a portrait of Kashmir before all the ugliness and horror. the life of a man: lawyer, Jew, printer, resistance fighter, diplomat, husband, lover, father. a portrait of Kashmir - the ugliness, the horror. the life of a man: acrobat, actor, husband, freedom fighter, terrorist, chauffeur, assassin. a courtroom drama. a tale of a guy who really knows how to handle himself in prison. a troubled young lady finding love and thirsting for revenge. a miniature epic. a work that is sublime and transcendent. a frustrating book. a masterpiece!the first section of the novel follows the life of young urban sophisticate India, a documentarian and the daughter of a famous father. right off the bat, i had issues. Rushdie's voice is justly famous for its idiosyncracy. he is a "witty" writer. his voice is polished, erudite, disarmingly casual, sometimes dry, sometimes broad, intellectual, political, personal. Shalimar is full of sharp, wry characterization that is delivered in prose that is complicated, flowing, detailed in long sentences and even longer paragraphs, with much use of striking bits of offbeat imagery. the dialogue can be realistic but just as often feels archly stylized. i couldn't help but think that many characters spoke like Rushdie himself must speak. all of this became rather off-putting, as if Rushdie was oh such a clever man - like that oh so clever gent who goes on and on at a cocktail party, entranced with being the center of attention while never noticing how genuinely pretentious and condescending he sounds (i'll admit here that that dreary kind of cocktail party person is frequently... myself. sigh). this is not to say that the first section wasn't often funny. it was. particularly in Rushdie's depiction of the all-american boy-next-door type, and that type's glorified kind of anonymity. but you can still really want to smack a funny person upside the head if their humor comes wrapped in up-his-own-ass cleverness. at least i did. and all that said, the last part of the section - an assassination and a daughter's removal from reality: brilliant. just brilliant.the second section takes us into the past, to a Kashmiri village named Pachigam. my God, this section was beautiful! Rushdie's prose sings. the story of this village, its wonderful characters, two young people in love, the myths and legends, the magic, the rivalries, the coming of military types from India and revolutionary types from Pakistan, the stories within stories, the feeling of time moving inexorably forward, the troubling hints of bad times on the horizon, the grand passions, the small things, the humanity, the color and light and life and all the glorious details of a world that is no more... marvelous! just marvelous. i wanted to live in this world. here is also where it becomes absolutely clear how much Rushdie respects the strength of women and the power of art (art in cooking, acting, theatre; art as a tradition and a lifestyle). there is a dreamy kind of wish fulfillment happening in this section. things are not idealized and the narrative is not a sentimental one and characters are not one-dimensional - and yet this section is so full of people surviving in hard times, people living their lives to the fullest, people standing up for each other and being brave and being honest and being utterly themselves - i read this novella-sized section in a state of bliss. it is beauty on the page. i could read the story of this village over and again. swoon!the third section is the story of Max Ophuls. his name is that of a brilliant, classic director. he has a sinister, cringing assistant named Ed(gar) Wood(s). hey that's the name of another brilliant, classic director, a low-rent one, one who exists on the exact opposite part of the film spectrum as Ophuls. is this another example of Rushdie being clever for the sake of cleverness? perhaps. it doesn't matter. this section is also fantastic. Rushdie knows how to write thrilling wartime drama. Rushdie knows how to write tales of escape and derring-do and brave flights across troubled waters. is there anything the man can't write? this section starts in World War 2-era France, the life before the war, the resistance during, the politics and the spies and the lives lived in hiding. it gives you a brave heroine as well - complicated, butch, tender, merciless, independent, an incredibly sympathetic lady, and - much later - a stone-cold bitch. then Rushdie takes you out of France, into India, and into a disturbing affair. the fall of a Kashmiri villlager turned mistress. Rushdie writes of great events but keeps the personal front and center. he keeps things intimate and he keeps his characters real. Rushdie knows how to write.some serious spoilers follow!the fourth section returns to the Kashmiri village of Pachigam and is a tale of horror, why is that. it details the ruthlessness of religious fundamentalism and the madness of mindless militarism and the bloodthirstiness that occurs when the two meet, why is that. it shows us traditions dying, traditions being slaughtered, small things ground under the boots of smaller minds, villages burning and women raped and people tortured and beloved characters being hurt and broken and tormented and demeaned and killed, why is that. the authorial voice remains stylized and that should lead to some distance between story and reader but if anything the wryness and the stylization and the continued use of magic make the brutality even more stark and horrible, why is that. humans are fucking miserable bugs to treat each other this way and yet that's how it is and people die and people don't care and people live to rationalize their disgusting lack of humanity and people die who only want to live and people die and people die and people die, why is that. i hate people, why is that. i read this in an airport terminal while my flight was delayed for hours and it was hard not to cry and so i took many smoke breaks to try and let the heaviness lift a little and i kept returning to the book and i started to feel a strange feeling of being altered, of looking at things from very far away, of wanting to be far away, and yeah i did start crying, why is that. i'm writing this now and for some reason the tears are flowing again, why is that. why the fuck are people so fucking cruel and why is history a record of cruelty and why should humans be alive anyway, why do they do the things they do, i will never understand that, just thinking of what humans do to each other fills me with such sadness and rage and confusing feelings that i barely understand, why is that. people are so fucked up, why is that why is that why is that why is that.the fifth section returns us to modern day California. tale of a troubled young woman trying to be strong. tale of a man so hollowed out by his lack of love that he is nothing but a terrible shell with a terrible purpose. tale of some courtroom shenanigans. tale of a prison break. tale of a tale of a tale of a tale. things come together; things come apart. Kashmir is more than Kashmir - it is a living symbol for so many things. there is always room for love, even in the middle of vengeance. sometimes the lack of love is replaced by something else. sometimes hate is like love. sometimes things just can't be understood or explained. Rushdie tries, he really does, he tries brilliantly. his sentimental humanism is obvious in the very motivation of Shalimar the clown, who is not your typical terrorist. i don't mind the sentimental humanism; sometimes i crave it. Rushdie is a humanist who has not let the fatwa destroy his sense of decency or fairness, his need to see a person's tale from all angles, to see the why and the how of humans turning into monsters. Rushdie understands both the futility and the necessity of revenge, different forms of revenge. Shalimar the Clown ends on an exciting note. Shalimar the Clown ends on a mysterious note. what will happen next? is there any hope? perhaps i am more of a pessimist than Rushdie because he clearly has hope while i think of humans and often feel hopeless. Humans Off Earth Now! but maybe not. there's hope yet, right? it is a strange and terrible and wonderful feeling to read a book that gives and then takes away and then gives back - just a little - a kind of faith in humanity. hey look the book is bigger on the inside than the little thing you are holding in your hands.

About Author

  1. Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a novelist and essayist Much of his early fiction is set at least partly on the Indian subcontinent His style is often classified as magical realism, while a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world.His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, led to protests from Muslims in several countries, some of which were violent Faced with death threats and a fatwa religious edict issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Supreme Leader of Iran, which called for him to be killed, he spent nearly a decade largely underground, appearing in public only sporadically In June 2007, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor for services to literature , which thrilled and humbled him In 2007, he began a five year term as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Emory University.

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Shalimar The Clown Comment

  1. a smart young lady trying to find herself in California the assassination of her father America s counterterrorism chief a portrait of Kashmir before all the ugliness and horror the life of a man lawyer, Jew, printer, resistance fighter, diplomat, husband, lover, father a portrait of Kashmir the ugliness, the horror the life of a man acrobat, actor, husband, freedom fighter, terrorist, chauffeur, assassin a courtroom drama a tale of a guy who really knows how to handle himself in prison a troubl [...]


  2. At times, this rambling, rambunctious roller coaster of a read is feathered by the genius seen in Rushdie s Midnight s Children, at other times it becomes mired in an overload of Indian Pakistani Kashmiri political history, which is great for providing context, but stems the otherwise rampant flow of this terrific story.As you would expect from the great man, the humour is irreverent and the human imagery is transcendent To offset this, there is pathos a plenty and at times the story is unbearab [...]


  3. My Review in very reviewy language Wonderful All of Rushdie s powers are at play here, but perhaps the most striking is his exploration of the social and psychological borderland between visceral, emotional impulse and ideological motivation What motivates someone to become an assassin, a terrorist, a murderer And in the enlongated moment of that decision, how do personal, emotional wounds gain political currency enough to justify killing someone Or killing many people For a second there, I thou [...]


  4. After toiling through The Satanic Verses a few years ago, my overriding memory is of how little of the novel I understood I was therefore reluctant to get stuck into Shalimar The Clown when my sister passed it on recently Sure enough, I m finding Rushdie s authorial voice to be much like I remember it extensive vocabulary, usage of magical realism dreams fantasies, strong character descriptions, and multi cultural savvy that combine together seamlessly For these reasons I m finding the story a b [...]


  5. Shalimar the Clown has been on my shelf collecting dust While I do admit to having quite the crush on Rushdie, I get flashbacks from the utter disappointment I felt when I readThe Satanic Verses My friend, also a Rushdie aficionado, finally convinced me to pick it up and blow the dust off the covers My love affair with Rushdie has been rekindled.Rushdie is at full power in Shalimar He combines his lush prose and diverse characters with political allegory and cultural savvy Although it s easily o [...]


  6. Excellent book For me, it started out painfully slow I was not terribly interested in the first characters he introduced to me Nor was I terribly interested in the story CONTINUE READING The histories of these characters are deep, deep, deep Rich and beautiful language By the quarter mark of the book I was completely riveted For the first part of the book I found myself, irritatingly, asking, when is he going to get to the point and the rest of the book eagerly asking, what happens NEXT This is [...]


  7. I ve been a reader for some time now I ve read a few good books but none of them have made me realise the power of fiction Until now Until I picked up Shalimar the Clown.Had anyone ever given us a non fiction book about the issues related to Kashmir as raised in this book, we d have probably abandoned it after 100 pages or so I m not lying or judging anyone when I say that, since that is pretty normal That is perhaps since most of us have been watching the same thing over over again in the news [...]


  8. I enjoyed this a lot Compared to Rushdie s style in The Satanic Verses his magical realism here is subtle and toned down to the point where it enhances rather than disrupting my suspension of disbelief At one point magic even forms the case for the defence in a trial in an entirely believable way the argument is, as my friend Alicia pointed out to me recently If people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences The magical strand helps to creates a wonderful, unsettling sens [...]


  9. Shalimar the Clown is consummate Rushdie although with less magic realism than most of his books, particularly the most recent Two year, eight months and twenty eight nights which was just full on magic There is so much in this book, starting with an assassination in California, to 1950 s Kashmir to the Second World War and the French resistance in Strasbourg and then back and forth between Kashmir and California In Shalimar, Rushdie focuses on the contested land of Kashmir before most of the cu [...]


  10. This book has been a hell of a ride When I started it, I had the feeling I wasn t going to enjoy it that much, but by page 100 I was hooked and so invested in the characters that it I felt like I made all of their decisions with them The book is a political comentary on the conflict between Kashmir and India, but, through the depth of its characters humanity, it is also much than that a story of love, hatred, feat and death Just like any good story should be, a reminder of the diversity of huma [...]


  11. spit it out already rushdie some of this is just so long windedso, his descriptions of the character, India, remind me of his first inkling of desire for his ex wife,pseudo human and nit wit, padma lakshmi sickd finally, if you re going to name one of your main characters after a sort of popular german film director, make sure your audience understands why if anyone else has read this, what do max ophuls the director, max ophuls the main character, and kashmira from the story all have to do with [...]



  12. ovvero storia del pagliaccio che si nasconde nel fanatico religiosoShalimar il Clown la storia della nascita del terrorismo jihadista nel Kashmir, terra di confine prima invasa dai soldati indiani, che stuprano come se non ci fosse niente di meglio per piegare una popolazione, e poi difeso dai fondamentalisti islamici, provenienti dal Pakistan, che trasformano una terra di pace e coesistenza in una roccaforte del terrorismo e lasciano le stesse macerie dell esercito indiano racconto incentrato s [...]


  13. Joy keeps lending me books that I dislike in interesting ways.There is no doubt that this is a collection of beautiful sentences The writing is vivid, lyrical, and evocative Unfortunately it s mostly evocative of horror The sections all pretty much start out Here are some people Horrible things happened to them Let s examine their lives leading up to the horrible things The Kashmir sections are the loveliest, I think, but that just makes the torture, rape, and systematic murder in them all the [...]


  14. After reading some of the explicitly fabulist works of Salman Rushdie, this feels so grounded in a world I know, even if it is populated by Kashmiri acting troupes and 64 course meals and potato witches.And Shalimar the Clown is entertaining, witty, and snarky as it flies from LA to Alsace to Kashmir to the Philippines, seemingly wanting to suck every aspect of globalized society fundamentalism, Bretton Woods, decolonization, interracial romance, you name it up into its propeller It s not the s [...]


  15. All the time while I was reading this, I was specially reminded of the Kashmir Hour broadcasted on PTV during the late 90s when the photos of mutilated bodies and wailing mothers used to repeatedly flash on the screen that made an 8 year old me cringe and get chilled to the bones The fight for freedom was rich and loud while we dined and the TV blasted off songs of Humera Channa calling out to the world s justice We had no other option to switch a different channel We had to realise that the war [...]


  16. I just can t do it I cannot concentrate enough on the style of writing to comprehend it It hurts my head I am not enjoying this, and I m stopping on page 31 There is just TOO much allegory and similie and flowery vision descriptive prose for me to truly take in this story I knowSalman Rushdie is supposed to be this big important prominent world author and everything, but I think the last time I felt like this about a book was when I HAD to read Faulkner in high school Well, there s no grade or t [...]


  17. A slow, ponderous and plodding narrative This is a book that is ostentatiously about the transformation of a Kashmiri stage performer into a vengeful assassin, but ends up being about too many things The plot is the scorned love of the protagonist and his Kashmiri dancer wife An American ambassador to India, an illegitimate daughter named India , and the consequent murder of the ambassador by Shalimar The Clown, complete the plotline In between, while giving a remarkable insight into the Kashmir [...]


  18. Rating 4.5 starsA mournful lament of the paradise that was Kashmir a ruined paradise, not so much lost as smashed , says the blurb wrapped in an enticing tale of love, loss, hatred, relegious extremism, power and that ubiquitous, terribly influential entity luck The writing is fabulous at once evocative, captivating, heartbreaking and magical and the characters are very real I read this book on cramped and somewhat raining train journeys across the beautiful, pond filled terrain of West Bengal, [...]




  19. With Salman Rushdie s fascinating novel, Shalimar the Clown I found it rather easy often necessary to suspend disbelief, in part because this is no conventional story but rather an amazing fable that uses the fractious land of Kashmir as a metaphor for the India Pakistan partition, Hindu Moslem relations and perhaps the world at large On the surface Shalimar the Clown appears as an updated, Kashmir based Romeo Juliet tale, seeming to portray an unsanctioned love affair between Shalimar a Moslem [...]



  20. I was so impressed by this book that it s taken me awhile to work out what to say primarily, what fascinated me was the grace and effortlessness with which it moves from one setting to another a large chunk is set in Kashmir, covering much of the last half of the 20th century another large chunk in Europe primarily France during the Second World War the last chunk in Los Angeles in the 1990s Each of these settings and historical periods is richly detailed a lesser author would have taken an enti [...]


  21. The publishing community has long believed that once authors achieve best seller status and their names become recognizable, subsequent works from these so fortunately knighted are bankable safe bets Oh, how easily sprinting giants stumble when they lose sight of the path to reader bliss and focus, instead, on the desires of their marketing departments.Rushdie s latest work, Shalimar the Clown, is a clear example of what ails the novel today Notwithstanding my disdain for page long sentences and [...]


  22. I started reading this book long ago and only finished it now, recently having been reminded of Kashmir by someone, I came back to it Interestingly enough, it s a tale of love and revenge and the lovers broken hearts and desperate choices on the backdrop of the tragic history of Kashmir, which in Rushdie s occasionally stunning prose threatens to rip your heart out especially the poignant lyrical passage describing the destruction of the Kashmiri village of Pachigam.This being Rushdie, there are [...]


  23. Like some of the post 9 11 literature, Shalimar delves deep into the roots of terrorism and explores the turmoil generated by different faiths and cultures attempting to coexist How can nations, Rushdie asks, go from near peaceful ethnic and religious acceptance to violent conflict within a mere generation Critics agree that Rushdie has brilliantly unraveled the construction of terrorists some of them fight for ideas others fight to fulfill vows or, if they are men, to reclaim their wives.Shalim [...]


  24. This book took me the longest time to read 24 days I ve never had to spend so much time on a book in recent years This is because the matter was heavy lofty at times, surreal at times, silly at other times and I ve never read detailed character studies in any other book Rushdie blends history with myths, truth with fiction, and comes out with a terrific novel called Shalimar The Clown Kashmir is the centre of this tale and holds together the narratives of India Ophuls aka Kashmira, Boonyi Kaul, [...]


  25. there s enthralling rushdie midnight s children , and maddening rushdie the ground beneath her feet this one was somewhere in between i got a bit tired of the mythology to be honest, but that sort of single mindedness was a kind of magic.


  26. Kashmiri FatesShalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie 2005 A few years ago a friend of mine gave me what was then Rushdie s latest with a very lukewarm recommendation As a result, I set it on my shelf for until such time as I had the time and motivation to plough through the man s florid prose I had just read his The Moor s Last Sigh the previous year and was mildly impressed by the constancy of its themes and the unusual historical context, although the story itself did not have a whole lot going [...]


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