NOW FINISHED: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Salman's last name is made up of two verbs. That's fun. So, I finished his book and I still feel pretty much the same way about it as I have this whole time: he's a good writer, it's basically interesting, it's weird, fanciful things happen, and I'm certain these allusions and wordplay and characters would mean more to me if I knew/cared anything about Islam, etc.
For all the hullabaloo about this book's blasphemy, it's not particularly anti- anything, although once in a while somebody calls out religion, like near the end when Sisodia says, "Fact is...religious faith, which encodes the highest aspirations of human race, is now, in our country, the servant of lowest instincts, and God is the creature of evil." That's certainly appropriate for the U.S., too. (note: that chracter stutters, but I wrote the quote from page 533 normally, instead of "cococountry" etc.)
Then again, I guess the pilgrimage to Mecca via the sea, which they expect to part and which most believe to have parted, even though bodies wash up ashore when they drown because the sea has not in fact parted, is supposed to be making fun of religious zealots a bit ... but, duh. I guess you just have to be a devout believer in some dumb crap to get your feathers ruffled when people make fun of devout believers in dumb crap.
I think the line that has most stuck with me of this entire book is what Alicja says to her daughter Alleluia Cone:
"Alicja at first offered little more than world-weariness. 'So a woman's life-plans are being smothered by a man's,' she said, not unkindly. 'So welcome to your gender.'" -- p. 358
That was funny/true. I guess a lot of the book is funny/true. The end was riveting: I definitely wanted to power through the last 100 or so pages and see what was going to happen. All in all it's worth a read and totally not worth a fatwa.