Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 8, 2008

Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie, read by Aasif Mandvi #BookReview

shalimarIn June, I also listened to Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie narrated by Aasif Mandvi, and I rated it 7. I won’t pretend to have followed this properly – I had other things on my mind most days travelling to and from work and found myself drifting in and out of this book more often but not – so the plot is not at all clear in my mind.

What I understood of it was this: Shalimar the Clown is a man who lies in India at the time of partition and the eventual rise of extremists and terrorists. His wife Boonyi has an affair with the American ambassador, producing a child, India – who is subsequently brought up by the barren ambassador’s wife (who promptly leaves him and discovers that motherhood doesn’t suit her and so neglects the child.)

Shalimar vows revenge, joins a terrorist cell to learn ways of killing the ambassador, wangles his way onto his staff, kills him and is charged with terrorist offences because most people don’t realise the murder is personal not political. Then India wants to avenge her father’s death…

Amongst this plot are all kinds of interesting sub themes and I really like Rushdie’s irony. A proper reading of this book would be worthwhile, and I shall look out for it.

For a proper review of this book, see The Guardian.


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