The Satanic Verses in Paris

The Satanic Verses in Paris

The passions unleashed by Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses seem at first glance to be a perfect example of what the novel itself identifies as postmodern sensibility, that of a society capable only of pastiche, which cultivates “the image instead of the reality.” Millions of Muslims condemned the book without having read it, and hundreds of writers defended it, I believe, under these same conditions. Today, in the countries where the book appears in translation, the situation is a little different, but still peculiar: it is impossible to read it without the recent controversy in mind. Having finished the book, I find consolation in the fact that “affairs” such as the one it provoked are one of the book’s principal themes. More than postmodern distortion, the affair is an illustration and a test of what the book itself tells us; the fact that the two, the book and the affair, have become inseparable is not necessarily a bad thing.

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Wurgraft | University of California Press Lima