Reading this book was a roller coaster experience. The first 100 pages were truly difficult to read, and left me scratching my head. There was much ado about nothing. Why, oh why, has he devoted so many pages to that smelly boatman? I wanted to pull my hair out. My husband who had read the book as a college graduate gave me an empathetic nod. So ok, it’s not me then!
With that validation, I started plodding along, and somewhere along the way, the tangled web that he was weaving, and that play with words started taking a hold on me. With a boatload of characters, realism, special powers, political turmoil, twists and turns, it was hard work to keep up with the talkative Salim, the narrator and the protagonist. You are emotionally invested in the story.
In the end, you can’t help but admire Rushdie’s knack with words, and vivid imagination. How even when there are so many characters, they don’t feel unnecessary. Each of them has a role to play. And above all, just when he has made you laugh, he makes you cringe or strikes you with a tragedy. The seesaw of emotions you experience with the story sometimes makes you get angry with Rushdie.
I am not rating this book for now. I need to go back and savor it in bits and pieces to appreciate the nuances. Without being on the edge, without my reading prejudices. Defintiely give this book a shot, it will challenge you to be a patient reader.