(home’s the best?) Yup, it’s all about Salman, again. 😀
Salman Rushdie’s short story collection had been sitting around on my bookshelves for quite a while before I finally decided to read it. I’ve no idea why I put it off for so long, but as soon as I started I could barely put it down, it’s Mr. Rushdie at his liveliest.
Less dense than Midnight Children or Satanic Verses, more dynamic than Fury, funnier and more…slippery than any of his other works I’ve read. It almost felt like a rediscovery – last time, I read “The Enchantress of Florence” being aware all throughout that it’s not his best (missing out on the Booker shortlist doesn’t surprise me one bit) so now “East, west” was pure joy.
Structurally speaking, there are 9 stories: 3 about the East, 3 about the West and 3…combined. The first 6 had previously appeared in various magazines, the last 3 are brand new (or rather were since the book was out 14 years ago). There’s no reason to get into the narration of each – personally, I liked the first 6 better than the last 3 – and there’s 2 of them I’d particularly mention.
One from the East: “The Free Radio” – which was the most moving, most humane story. In short, it’s about how, even if fate throws nothing your way, you can at least make yourself – and those around you – believe in your dreams and, more than than, tweak your perception of reality accordingly. This tweaking, this adjustment is the only fuel that drives Ramani’s otherwise tormented life.
And one from the West: “Yorick” – the funniest of the 9, a reinterpretation of Hamlet, starting with the prince’s childhood and his relationship with Yorick the court-jester who will, in the play, be nothing but a skull (although in Rushdie’s story, the infamous skull now belongs to someone else 😀 ).
I feel it would have deserved a much better posting, but the best I can do is say it’s a must-read, even for non- fans 😉 . I’ve read it in translation and the internet isn’t exactly flooded with quotes from the novel, so, there you go…
“(…) libertatea e un cocker spaniel care devine bleg şi fleşcăit dacă nu este exersat, aşa că exersează-ţi câinele, Domnule, ăsta e secretul.”
“Noi publicul putem foarte uşor sa fim jigniţi mortal. Am ajuns sa considerăm jignirea ca un drept fundamental. Sunt foarte puţine lucruri pe care le pretuim mai mult decat furia personală, care, dupa parerea noastră, ne da o poziţie de superioritate morală. Din această poziţie de superioritate, putem să tragem asupra duşmanilor şi să le provocăm pierderi serioase. Ne mândrim cu cat de repede ne sare ţandăra. Mânia noastra înalţa, transcede.”