- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Random House Publishing Group; Reprint edition (11 March 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812976703
- ISBN-13: 978-0812976700
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 181 g
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 210,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Shame: A Novel Paperback – 11 Mar 2008
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"Swift in Gulliver's Travels, Voltaire in Candide, Sterne in Tristram Shandy...Rushdie, it seems to me, is very much a latter-day member of their company." The New York Times Book Review
"A pitch-black comedy of public life and historical imperatives." The Times (UK)
About the Author
Sir SALMAN RUSHDIE is the multi-award winning author of eleven previous novels--Luka and the Fire of Life, Grimus, Midnight's Children (which won the Booker Prize, 1981, and the Best of the Booker Prize, 2008), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown and The Enchantress of Florence--and one collection of short stories, East, West. He has also published three works of non-fiction: The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991 and Step Across This Line, and coedited two anthologies, Mirrorwork and Best American Short Stories 2008. His memoir, Joseph Anton, published in 2012, became an internationally acclaimed bestseller. It was praised as "the finest memoir...in many a year" (The Washington Post). His books have been translated into over forty languages. He is a former president of American PEN.
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Top international reviews
The novel itself is about the reasons for Pakistan's struggles; still coming to terms with post colonialism, the effects of partition, conflict of the islamic religion, hostilities between west and east Pakistan, westernised elites leading the country. All these themes are encapsulated by the extremes of shame and shamefulness.
I have heard from some reviews that the book can be enjoyed without understanding the history of Pakistan. This may well be true but I do feel that you will get the most out of this book if you have an interest in the history and politics of Pakistan.
Apart from this, I love - as I did some 25 years ago - the colouring (or should I say seasoning?), the constant surprises (though I should not be surprised, really), the 'oriental' story-telling with its western breaks.
Three mothers to one child? - no problem!
Ali Baba's cave as a gigantic brothel for the in-laws of one family? - what an idea!
This book is sheer delight.
Well done, Mr Rushdie. Thank you.
This was my first venture into the incredible mind of Salman Rushdie and I have to say he does not leave one wanting for lovely, metaphorical prose! He has an intense, edge-of-your-seat writing style that keeps the account moving along at a fast pace.
Set in an imaginary Islamic society, the book explores shame in all its variations. The characters are swimming in their indignity from the outset. Rushdie brings the seven deadly sins to life and then throws fury into the mix, creating quite an exciting narrative!
The story begins with three sisters, Chunni, Munnee and Bunny, locked up in their father’s palatial mansion, waiting for daddy dearest to die so they can reap their inheritance. And when he does, what a party they have! As sometimes happens when young girls are turned loose on the world, a pregnancy occurs, but to say it was unplanned would be untrue. The sisters longed for a baby and so, as one, they became mother to illegitimate Omar Khayyam.
Omar, a slothful and disturbed youth, eventually leaves the compound - and his three strange mothers – to embark on a life of gluttony and sin in the outside world. He had been home-schooled to never feel shame, so he and his friend, Iskander, go on to live a debauched life of legendary proportions. The character list is seemingly endless and there are many sad, sinful, shame-filled endings. At times, I became lost in the complexity of the expanding cast and had no idea what was happening. I eventually caught up and was able to stay with the subject matter. There are underlying currents of politics within a country in turmoil, but the novel didn’t heavily lean toward any political agenda.
Overall, I liked the book. It was told in a conversational way and I felt as if I had sat down with a friend as he launched into a story. Rushdie, as the narrator, does veer off track, reciting accounts of his own that were completely unrelated to the actual folktale of Shame. But he eventually returned to the matter in hand.
His writing is beautiful, but this is not an easy read and I had to pay very close attention.
All things considered, I am so glad I tried Rushdie!