From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Satanic Verses comes nine stories that reveal the oceanic distances and the unexpected intimacies between East and West. Daring, extravagant, comical and humane, this book renews Rushdie's stature as a storyteller who can enthrall and instruct us with the same sentence.From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Satanic Verses comes nine stories that reveal the oceanic distances and the unexpected intimacies between East and West. Daring, extravagant, comical and humane, this book renews Rushdie's stature as a storyteller who can enthrall and instruct us with the same sentence.Read Less
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Rushdie is most famous for his full length novels, articles and essays but this collection brings to light Rushdie's talent for short stories. This an excellent selection of creative, funny, and diverse stories in true Rushdie style. The real standouts for me are "The Free Radio" which looks at the stories and dreams people tell themselves, "The Prophet's Hair" which is an interesting "Twilight Zone"-esque parable, "The Auction of the Ruby Slippers" which problematizes notions of "home" and possession, "Yorick" which is an ingenious re-telling of Hamlet with a brilliant narrative voice, "Chekov and Zulu" which thematically tries to blend Star Trek, assassination, nationalism, and racism, and the "Courter" which introduces a much more sombre and reflective narrator in contrast to the darker narrator of "The Harmony of the Spheres".
The book is organized as "East", "West" and "East, West" and one of the characters describes feeling pulled either East or West and having to choose between one or the other. But why does one have to choose? Isn't it really a false dichotomy? I think this book exemplifies a certain period in Rushdie's life where he perhaps thought that the two were irreconcilable and there are numerous examples presented where the East and West conflict with one another. But it all depends on how one chooses to define the "East" vs/in relation to/opposite/additional to something amorphously categorized as the "West"...
I'm inclined to have a hopeful reading of the book.
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