From That's A Novel Idea and Find Your Next Book Here
1 book I read: Shalimar the Clown
2 words that describe the book: Literary fiction (I don't have much insight beyond that!)
3 settings where it took place or characters you met:
Settings: Kashmir, India and Los Angeles, California
Max Ophuls - The former ambassador to India is murdered, in broad daylight, on the front steps of his daughter's apartment building by his new limousine driver. Ophuls, a larger-than-life man who holds the secrets of the underground intelligence world, isn't exactly as gregarious and innocent as he first appears. Throughout the novel, we learn the long series of events spanning nearly three decades that led to his murder.
Shalimar the Clown - A native of the Kashmir region of India, Shalimar mysteriously appears at Ophuls' door one day, looking for work as a chauffeur. We know from the beginning that he is Ophuls' murderer, but it's not until we are taken back through a story of deep love and devastating loss do we understand why.
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it:
I liked, as always, Rushdie's writing. It's disjointed enough to make his books a challenge, but has a fluidity and a beauty that is unparalleled. There's a reason I've been leading a (joking) Facebook campaign for nearly five years to get the man a Nobel Prize for Literature.
I liked the character of Shalimar, even though he is a murderer. I didn't like him right at the beginning of the novel, but he was pretty quickly thereafter established as a sympathetic character whose plight we were meant to understand.
I liked the glimpse we get of a world I've never seen. Sure, Rushdie's portrayal of Kashmir may not be totally faithful to reality, but he makes the region and its people come alive.
I didn't like (and this is probably a failing of myself as a reader) that the book is blurbed as a work of magical realism. I didn't really get that part of the story, even though I was looking for it!
5 Stars or less for your rating?
I'm giving the book 4 stars. I would recommend this book to any fan of Rushdie, those who like literature set in India, or anyone looking for something interesting and complex.
The Whys and Wheres: My bookshelves
Challenges: Read 'n' Review Challenge