sâmbătă, 21 aprilie 2012

The Satanic Verses

There are a lot of things which can be said of a novel that has caused religious debates

I found the novel interesting, and to sum it in a word, brilliant. I must confess, reading about the fact that a death sentence was issued to the author for writing it, made me curious and willing to pay great attention to every metaphor or other stylistic approaches to literature. I found the book to be a clear account of the lives of two main characters, Gibreel Farishta and Saladin (Salahudin) Chamcha. I couldn’t find any remarks or any passage that could indicate any mockery towards any religion.

The story seems very awry and is filled with mythological references and historical facts that could be attributed to the period in which the Prophet made the revelation. The main characters are the only survivors of a plane hijack and both are trapped in Britain trying to rebuild their life after the plain crash. Because they are listed as dead by the official statement of the aviation company they seem to have a period in which they must prove to themselves and other that they are in fact alive. Gibreel Farishta finds this to be much easier than Saladin Chamcha because he was a great Bollywood superstar and apparently is recognized be many. Saladin Chamcha goes through a series of transformations in order to regain his identity. The characters are presented in an antithetic fashion, Gibreel, for whom any mistakes are forgivable, and Saladin a man who is seen as threatening and must prove himself as a British citizen through times of abuse and maltreatment.

Due to the way in which Rushdie builds his novel, the plot and its tension seem to gradually arch and bend in each episode, as the characters go through metamorphosis and transformation. The author constructs the novel be creating narrations in narrations, using the metaphor of revelation to provide continuity. Gibreel assumes the role of the Archangel Gabriel and Saladin is sometimes perceived as Shaitan (the devil) especially through his ordeal in London in order to regain his old life and identity. Both characters seem to have problems with identity, Gibreel presenting episodes of recurring schizophrenia and Saladin having problems with British authorities. Although the characters are Indian they seemed to me to be universal, because I could relate to them and the problems which they sought to solve are universal. Both seek love and a way of living it with the person they love. Each of them seems to have a distorted view of love (one due to mental illness and the other due to an illusion regarding the British way of life and his wife’s morality). In fact their ethics about love and morality are tested and in the end one of them manages to construct himself and live accordingly while the other succumbs to his misinterpretation and distortions of reality due to mental illness.

The book made me think about my own struggle with my identity and made me realize that part of the resolution lies in the persons you manage to have around you, because if you have people around you which can offer support when you need it, you can grow and become stronger and therefore a step closer to living your life in a full and enjoyable manner.