Writing my masters thesis was one of the most exciting periods of my life. Initially I wanted to write on James Joyce’s Ullyses (but who hasn’t?) or Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita or Pale Fire (again, who hasn’t?). Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer? Then I moved to more contemporary writers. What about Don DeLillo’s White Noise? Maybe Zadie Smith? I know, Salman Rushdie! But not The Satanic Verses. Everyone and their mother has written about The Satanic Verses.
It’s banned book week! Or rather, it was last week. . . .Time to celebrate those books that have been challenged and banned. Many classics that have been a part of the literary canon for decades have had their merit questioned. We have days to commemorate what happened. And we have Banned Books Week to remind us of what could have happened. We could have lost so much art if brave publishers and booksellers did not protest censorship. Books were banned for their language and content. Anything remotely sexual was considered pornographic. Racial slurs used to indicate a racist society were challenged. Something slightly bawdy was banned. And books that reinterpret religious texts were burned. Why? They are all merely ideas. They are all just musings, just observations, just words. But people become so caught up in their personal beliefs that they want to force them on other people. It seems strange to me that books are still being challenged and banned to this day. Continue reading →
Salman Rushdie‘s 1981 masterpiece, Midnight’s Children was made into a movie. When you’re reading some books you cannot imagine how they could be movies. Especially Rushdie’s books. And not for lack of plot. Certainly not for lack of witty dialogue. Nor is there lack of heroes. No, the only reason you can’t imagine them being made into movies is because the language is so beautifully brilliant. The wordplay is inspiring. When you read Rushdie, you read a man who loves words.
But Rushdie wrote the screenplay. He rewrote the 533 pages into a two and a half hour movie. And what’s the best news after that? Rushdie himself is the narrator. So all doubts disappear. The bard has become the voice.
Almost a month ago the movie production company started an autographed book or movie poster giveaway on facebook. All you had to do was tag a friend that you would see the movie with. I did and won an autographed book!
“Two days earlier there had been a ‘Rushdie riot’ outside the U.S. Cultural Center in Islamabad, Pakistan. (It was not clear why the United States was being held responsible for The Satanic Verses.) The police had fired into the crowd and there were five dead and sixty injured. The demonstrators carried signs saying RUSHDIE, YOU ARE DEAD. Now the danger had been greatly multiplied by the Iranian edict. The Ayatollah Khomeini was not just a powerful cleric. He was a head of state ordering the murder of the citizen of another state, over whom he had no jurisdiction; and he had assassins at his service and they had been used before against ‘enemies’ of the Iranian Revolution, including enemies living outside Iran (Rushdie, 15). Continue reading →