The Novel’s Alleged Offenses
The novel’s odd-numbered sections narrate the adventures of two popular Anglo-Indian actors, Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, who (having survived the terrorist bombing of their airplane) attempt to resume normal life in modern London. The even- numbered sections concern an imaginary story about the Prophet Muhammad in the fictitious holy city of Jahilia and the apparently doomed mission of the prophetess Ayesha to lead Muslim Indian villagers on a pilgrimage to Mecca. The novel’s climax reveals a miraculous parting of the waters of the Arabian Sea and the subsequent apparent drowning of the pilgrims. However, it is possible that the entire sequence is part of a fantasy in one of the popular religious films...
(The entire section is 320 words.)
After early education at Bombay’s Cathedral School (1954 to 1961), Salman Rushdie was sent by his nominally Moslem but Anglophile parents to England for an even more British training: Rugby (1961 to 1964) and King’s College, Cambridge (1965 to 1968). After traveling to Pakistan, he was forced to return to England because his production of Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story (pr., pb. 1959) mentioned “pork,” thereby inciting Moslem protests. He tried acting, worked as an advertising copywriter, and composed the poorly received Grimus (1975). Not until his success with Midnight’s Children in 1981 could he earn a living from his fiction.
In 1988, his life changed radically with the...
(The entire section is 238 words.)