Salman Rushdie is one of the most well-known authors of our time. He is a British Indian author who has written novels, essays, short stories, and even children’s books, and many of his works have left an indelible mark on the world.
His second novel, ‘Midnight’s Children,’ won the Booker Prize in 1981 and was named “the best novel of all winners” twice more, on the 25th and 40th anniversaries of the award.
Salman Rushdie is a word magician. Rushdie creates novels full of controversies, puns, metaphors, and magical realism, which have earned him the title of one of the world’s most acclaimed authors.
Rushdie’s works are engaging and thought-provoking, dealing with the intersections of Eastern and Western culture, as well as issues of religion, life, and death. We look at some of his must-reads works here.
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The Ground Beneath Her Feet
Salman Rushdie’s epic rock and roll love story of two young men chasing after the same young woman is inspired by the rock music culture and the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The entire plot takes place during the period when rock music was in its infancy.
The incredibly rich network of references, cultures, and tales that interweave within the story captivates the reader in The Ground Beneath Her Feet. Rushdie creates an unforgettable story that transcends time and space by drawing influences from Eastern and Western cultures, as well as ancient and contemporary.
Reading Imaginary Homelands is like peering into Salman Rushdie’s personal diary. The book is a collection of essays in which he discusses a wide range of topics, from authors to movies to culture, as well as political issues such as postcolonialism and fundamentalism, which frequently intersect with his thoughts on literature.
Although, as a non-fiction work, this is one of Rushdie’s few books that does not include myths or magical realism, Imaginary Homelands is strongly related to Rushdie’s fiction, revealing many of his thoughts on the contemporary literary and cultural scene.
Midnight’s Children is one of the most successful novels of the twentieth century, telling the fascinating story of Indian independence through the eyes of one young boy. Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight, at the exact moment, India gained independence.
He gradually realizes that all children born at this time have been endowed with special abilities, including himself, and sets out to gather all the children together. The story is symbolic of India’s early attempts to forge a unified national identity. Midnight’s Children won the Booker Prize in 1981, and Penguin Books named it one of the Great Books of the 20th Century.
The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses is widely regarded as one of the most contentious and sought-after books ever written. The plot begins with a hit on the ground following an explosion in a London-bound jet. Two survivors gradually transform into good and evil representations, the archangel Gibreel and the devil, respectively.
Rushdie’s story is written in the style of an intricate design found on a grand carpet or the walls of a mosque, with characters, plotlines, and allegories expertly interwoven. Despite its success, the novel sparked outrage in parts of the Muslim world, prompting Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s Supreme Leader, to issue a fatwa, or death sentence, against Rushdie.
The Moor’s Last Sigh
The Moor’s Last Sigh is a masterpiece in its own right, thanks to Salman Rushdie’s vivid imagination and ability to create magic with his words. Moraes Zogoiby, known as Moor throughout the story, narrates his life, explaining how everything has led up to the present.
Beginning with his ancestors’ stories, Moor describes how the generations since then have twisted and bent, leading to events in his life. The Moor’s Last Sigh, like many of Rushdie’s other works, draws on historical and cultural references, such as the life of the last Moorish King of Granada and contemporary Indian events.
Shalimar the Clown
This book lacks the magical realism that the others on the list do, but it contains the same political insight that Rushdie’s books are known for. We follow America’s counterterrorism chief, Maximilian Ophuls, and his driver, a Kashmiri Muslim who murders him and explains why in flashbacks.
We follow the backstory and how these characters’ lives intersected in the past as the story moves across continents. The story depicts how politics ruined what was once beautiful about Kashmir.
Rushdie’s most recent book was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2019. It has a story within a story, which is beautifully plotted. We follow an Indian author who becomes obsessed with a talk show host in the United States even though he has never met her.
He sends her letters signed “Quichotte” and embarks on a cross-country search for her. The story highlights the current issues confronting America.