Current book: The Satanic Verses
Pages read: 315 - 400
For some reason, this book just seems to let me summarize it really fast. Perhaps it's because I've read it before and therefore don't have to decipher the plot, or perhaps it's because not that much happens, really. I'm not sure, but I lean toward the latter; frankly, Rushdie spends a lot of time philosophizing.
No word on Saladin, just fyi, but Gibreel remains happily ensconced with Allie while he learns about her personal life, including the fact that her younger sister, once a model in London, died of a drug overdose in her 20s. Shortly after this revelation, Gibreel gets a message from God that he ought to be out doing archangel-y things instead of lying around with a girl, so he tries to go do them. Unfortunately, he just ends up acting crazy when he does things like trying to jump off buildings, and is returned to Allie by a concerned bystander, Sisodia. It turns out that Sisodia is a film producer who wants Gibreel to make movies again - specifically a series in which he plays Gabriel - and is representing a group of Gibreel's creditors in India who won't be appeased any other way. Gibreel agrees, but during the press junket, has another attack of angelicity (Well, I don't know. What word do you want me to use? Angelitude? Angelness?) and sort of flips out.
In the delirium that follows, he has more dreams of Mahound. It's ten years after the time period of Gibreel's first dreams of Mahound, and the exiled prophet has returned to Jalilah, but now he is the one with the power. The whole town converts to Islam at Mahound's behest, but the townspeople continue to lead double lives, eating pork and visiting whores while pretending to be devout. Baal, a poet who once wrote mocking poems about Mahound, hides in the most popular whorehouse, the Curtain, where 12 of the prostitutes have taken on the identities of Mahound's 12 wives. Eventually, Baal assumes the identity of Mahound in order to better support the customers' illusions that they are sleeping with Mahound's wives. Also, Salman (Is it a coincidence that he shares the author's name? Somehow I doubt it.), one of Mahound's former disciples, tells Baal about the fact that he has tested Mahound's revelations from God and found them to be wanting. He maintains that Mahound is making up whatever rules he wants and passing them off as scripture, and that the content of the verses that Mahound delivers as messages from God is therefore suspect at best.
It's not hard to see why fundamentalist Islam was upset about the book, but I still stay it's a shame that there's a small percentage of Muslims that give the religion a bad name by preventing anyone from casting aspersions on the prophet Mohamed. The Muslims I know would say that people can say what they want about Mohamed, but the truth of the Qu'ran speaks for itself, and doesn't need to be defended with violence. While I find a lot of things about many religions suspect, I think there's often truth to be found (and a great deal of untruth) in their holy books. That said, though, the religion that cannot bear to be publicly challenged or ridiculed only weakens the argument that it properly represents those truths.
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