The Satanic Verses has been sitting on my shelf for a very long time. The main reason why I kept putting off reading it was mainly cause I thought you need an intricate knowledge of the Koran in order to fully understand it but really all you need is some basic knowledge – Rushdie is a kind author and guides you on the way.
A plane explodes and it’s two victims – a washed out actor called Gibreel Farishta and an Anglophile voice over artist called Saladin Chamcha survive it. Once they hit the ground, Gibreel turns into an angel and the other, a devil. They separate and Saladin vows to get his revenge on Farishta.
In between this Gibreel has these amazing dreams (and they are the best parts of the book) which deal with the creation of the Satanic Verses (three verses in the Koran about mythological deities) and a modern society who go on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
However the book’s main theme is the Indian migrant experience, colonialism and how Religion, namely Islam is fused within Indian culture in both modern and ancient times. Also towards the last bit of the book there’s a first-rate passage about fatherhood and family relations.
At times funny, beautiful, satirical this is one book that shouldn’t be missed out on. Maybe it’s not the best introduction to Rushdie but it’s the one in which displays his fiery prose the best.