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Friday, May 20, 2005

Strasbourg, Kashmir and The Ramayana

The Book Standard provides the first appraisal of Salman Rushdie's forthcoming Shalimar The Clown:

"A presumably political assassination that's in fact deeply "personal," the separate histories of the disputed territories of Strasbourg and Kashmir, and the classical Indian epic Ramayana are all ingeniously conflated and reimagined in Rushdie's dazzling ninth novel. It begins in 1993, when former U.S. Ambassador to India Maximilian Ophuls is murdered and nearly beheaded outside his Los Angeles home by his Muslim driver, who, the world will soon learn, is Kashmiri native Noman Sher Noman, a former traveling player and amateur acrobat known as "Shalimar the Clown." ... One parallel story is an extended flashback detailing Max's youth in war-torn Strasbourg, experiences as a Resistance hero and rise in the world of diplomacy. Other narratives recount Kashmir's ongoing victimization by Pakistan and India (notably, stiff-necked military leader Hammirdev Kachhawa and fanatical "iron mullah" Bulbul Fakh)... The pattern of the Ramayana—which recalls a hero's "war" waged against the "demon" who steals his beloved—is ingeniously reiterated when "Shalimar" fulfills his mission, eludes the sentence pronounced on him and confronts the woman who may or may not become his final victim... [A] magical-realist masterpiece that equals, and arguably surpasses, the achievements of Midnight's Children, Shame and The Moor's Last Sigh."

Equals and arguably surpasses the achievement of Midnight's Children? This, one would like to read.


  • me too, me too... Maximilian Ophuls, Hammirdev Kachhawa...i can't wait. thanks for this!

    By Blogger uma, at 9:40 AM  

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