Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rushdie Hatrick!

First he won the Booker in 1981.
Then he won, the Booker of Bookers in 1993.
And I've just heard (thanks Eric!) that he's now picked up the Best of Booker.

Congrats Sir Salman on yet another success for Midnight's Children.

(But what won Scott Pack's Alternative Booker? Take a look here.)


Anonymous said...

I'm going to eat a piece of smoked salmon in honour of his win :-)

- Poppadumdum

GeneGirl said...

I remember the vehement 'NO" to reading Midnight's Children from the bookclub - maybe this may entice them...

bibliobibuli said...

i couldn't read it again, or at least not yet. it demands just too much energy!

gnute said...

I agree. The first Rushdie book I tried reading was The Ground Beneath Her Feet. It was just too hard-going at the time. Maybe one day.......

Chet said...

I've never read a Rushdie before (please don't hit me). Is this a good book to start with? What would you recommend?

bibliobibuli said...

chet - yes. and it is a big gap in your reading. but i reckon it won't feel anywhere near as fresh as it did back in the '80's because later authors, esp indian authors, have been greatly influenced by rushdie.

eyeris said...

first the Booker. Then the Booker of Bookers. Then Best of Bookers. What next, the Best of Bookers of Bookers? Or The Bookie's Award for Most Bookers? :D

Chet said...

Sharon - I have potholes in my reading. But I think I'll survive.

Barefoot said...

Energy? Yes too much Sahron. But amazing it still is. What Rushdie did is still what he did- taking the oral tradition of a story teller & intertwining it with the writer at work and spinning metaphors and narrative with magical realism to marry a private live with a subcontinent's fragmentaion into a novel! I finished it two days ago (after putting off reading it for a long time) & am still reeling. But in time for the results. Phew!

dreamer idiot said...

I think Midnight's Children is very good, but wished Coetzee had won with Disgrace, then again, I haven't read Oscar and Luncinda yet, and neither have I read Nadine Gordiner, a South African giant, in the literary not literally sense though.

So, if Chet has potholes in her reading , I have a huge continent sized crater in mine. :(

Spot said...

It was my first introduction to magic realism and the history of the Partition.

Sad to say, it's the only book of his that I've read. T's no mere gap in my general's an abyss!!! :(

Anonymous said...

It's a great book, and as Sharon says, hugely influential for postcolonial writers -- but one mustn't forget that Rushdie himself was influenced by Gunter Grass (The Tin Drum) and by Marquez.... Not that it makes his achievement any less stunning. I'm just saying, the concept of originality is a complicated one. Everyone has always been borrowing from everyone else throughout history -- it's what you do with borrowed ideas that matters.

Oscar and Lucinda is also a stunning book. It was my other pick to win this (though I agree with eyeris above that the whole award is a wee bit silly!).

-- Preeta

bibliobibuli said...

preeta - yes, those influences are felt loud and clear. but then marquez was influenced by ... and grass was influenced by ...

it's a chain that stretches far back and far forward

yes 'tis a silly award. these are not punnets of picked prunes to be weighed and compared. but still. any award has people talking,arguing, agreeing, disagreeing ... and filling in the potholes. (i have huge chasms in my reading, chet, don't worry.)

yes MC takes energy to read, but yes it is great and i'm not at all unhappy it got the award.

donplaypuks® said...

Dear Sharon

It may well be that Rushdie belongs to that elite group of 'critically acclaimed' authors.

This usually means, like movies and plays similarly classified, that it is admired greatly by intellectuals, but the public would not pay 1 cent to buy their book and read them. It many cases, they would not read them even if the book were given to them gratis!

With the exception of 'Midnight's Children' the rest of Rushdie's books like 'Grimus' are extremely putdownable. Even 'Haroun & The Sea of Stories. Joyces' impenetrable 'Ulysses' (I'll never forget 'Whusky')and 'Finigans Wake' all belong in the same class of writings oohed and aahed over by intellectuals only!

But I did read 'Midnight's Children' when it was first published in london in the 80's and found it exciting. But it's not one you hanker to read again.

Personally, I find Ondaatjee and Marquez much more exciting. But these kind of 'best of the best' of awards are like the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to luminaries like Sadat, Begin & now Al Gore - meaningless.

Margaret Mitchell may have been a 1hit wonder, but can 'Midnight's Children' hold a candle to 'Gone With The Wind' or Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities'?

Anonymous said...

mere mention of sir salman makes my blood boil but i'm glad someone mentioned gunther grass. i had mental ejaculation reading grass's tin drum when i was an undergraduate (science).

and i'm getting mental ejaculation again now reading anthony burgess' memoir "little wilson and big god".

can't understand how such a good writer as burgess never won any booker.

ah pong

Anonymous said...

If the Ayatollah had managed to kill Rushdie, the newspaper headlines would have read: "Smoked Salman"


- Poppadumdum

bibliobibuli said...

clunk! we just hit a new low in the jokes department. thanks poppadumdum.

ah pong - loved "the tin drum too". and "little wilson and big god" is wonderful.

sad burgess didn't win booker in 1980 for "earthly powers". he was pipped to it by william goldings "rights of passage" which i don't think posterity has judged as kindly. barry unsworth's "pascali's island" was also shortlisted and i think is excellent.

donplaypuks - v. good questions. i have also felt less excited by the other rushdie books i've read although i did like "shame" very much. but rushdie did change the landscape esp. for indian authors.

but as we've agreed, this is a silly award not an absolute measure of greatness. plenty of great books don't even make that list, and the "best" (whatever best means) novels seldom win.

Anonymous said...

Wah, Ah Pong, your blood boils so much and for so many different things ah, how come you're not cooked yet by now? Between the boiling blood and the many mental ejaculations, it's also a wonder you have any bodily fluids left. Must ask how come Gunther Grass and Anthony Burgess don't make your blood boil, though. I suspect they would agree/would have agreed with Sir Salman about a whole lot of things.

Also, I think Burgess probably didn't win the booker because his best work was done before the Booker Prize was founded.

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

don't worry preeta;

i don't think YOU will make my blood boil.

ah pong

donplaypuks® said...

Anonymous/Ah Pong

Does your blood boil at the thought of Rushdie becoz of 'Satanic Verses' or something else. Have you read that book or know of th esource of that title? Just curious.

Sharon, you are right. Rushdie paved the way for a genre of Indian writers as well as prompting the West to look East.

Anonymous said...


i read midnight children and the satanic verses yonks ago and you know what. i loved both of them.and i have almost all of his books. i like his writings.i've read many of his columns in various newspapers and follow up on his op ed writings (as far as i can) and my personal opinion is rushdie is an obnoxious bugger.(i'm putting my islamic extremist hat here).

you may think i'm sounding contradictory here but i'm not really. think of fornicators who love whores and hate them at the same time. and you'll know what i mean.

ah pong

animah said...

Pappadom, didn't get your joke the first time round.

MC is the only Rushdie I finished. I enjoyed it tremendously. I love the Bombay feel of it. As to whether it should have won? Well there are many books I enjoyed more than MC, but they're not on the Booker list.