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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Kakutani Passes Judgement

Yes, one knows there's been too much about Rushdie and Shalimar The Clown in this blog of late. But how can one not point to the magisterial Michiko Kakutani's review in The New York Times? The lady is no fan of Rushdie's new book; her praise is faint, and criticisms many:

"...this time, the author's allegory-making machinery clanks and wheezes....Worse, Shalimar the Clown is hobbled by Mr. Rushdie's determination to graft huge political and cultural issues onto a flimsy soap opera plot - a narrative strategy that not only overwhelms his characters' stories but also trivializes the larger issues the author is trying to address."

Oh, dear. But: "What is most engaging about this novel - and represents a return to form, after two particularly weak and poorly observed novels - is Mr. Rushdie's creation of several compelling characters."

However: "While Mr. Rushdie manages the delicate balancing act of making these people both psychologically credible human beings and allegorical figures in a modern fairy tale, he pads their stories with long, meandering digressions...The main problem with this novel, however, is its title character, Shalimar - Boonyi's cuckolded husband and Max's assassin, who emerges as a thoroughly implausible, cartoonish figure."

And the summing-up: "...ambitious but ham-handed..."

1 Comments:

  • Not very fond of Rushdie myself. Though "Haroun And The Sea Of Stories" was very good, though.

    And Philip Roth will have to wait. I'm reading "A Suitable Boy" right now.

    By Anonymous Anirudh, at 6:03 PM  

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