I woke up this morning and decided that I would finish Shalimar the Clown a brief snippet here and a few pages caught there were no longer sufficient; it needed my full undivided attention. I hadn’t even given it the First Page Judgement. I saw that Rushdie had a new novel out and I wanted to read it. As I read it I vacillated between response a, b and c. Where was this book going? Why was the writing so different in each part? I wasn’t even sure that I liked any of the main characters. It’s a novel so full of violence, hatred and anger that by the end I felt desensitized and had almost forgotten that it began as a sensual love story. I felt I should be judging right or wrong, but didn’t even know where to begin and as I began to try and deconstruct and understand Rushdie’s aim I began to realise that he had achieved it: this is the story of Kashmir – beautiful and brutal.
So at present I give the book an a, only the test of time will tell whether it’s still an a next week, if I recommend it next year or whether it becomes a part of me.
Of course I do realise that this is my opinion and that you may completely disagree with me and that as a book review I’ve told you practically nothing about the book.