Wow. I have read two books in a row where the main characters are obsessed with sex. This is not typical for me, or intentional in regards to choosing subject matter, and yes, I know I sound like a prude bringing it up. But really, it is completely gratuitous, and in this book it is mentioned so often that I found myself saying, “yes, I get it, they love sex… noted”.
I chose this book because I am a fan of Salman Rushdie. I liked him even before that whole fatwa thing, which turned him into a literary hero, though I never got around to reading the Satanic Verses. To be fair, it has been a while since I read a book of his, so it took me some time to get into this one. I was not in that groove you get when you read a bunch of one author’s work and you have a better sense of where they’re going at the start. In the beginning, I listened to the audiobook; but when my library loan expired and I hadn’t finished, I went back to my NetGalley copy and picked the story up there. I was thinking that maybe it was a book better read, rather than listened to, but I certainly appreciated having heard the narrator pronounce some of those names!
This book has the magical, inventive worlds that Rushdie is famous for creating, but it did not hold my attention like some of his other books. Maybe they have left me jaded, or expecting more. This is the weird thing. I loved the times when I knew Rushdie was being sly — phrases that were a wink to current events, or characters and plotlines that strongly resembled particular people or situations — but I also resented those times, because they removed me from the magic of the story.
After I read this book I went back to a couple of his others on goodreads, and I saw this quote from the LA Times that accompanied the summary of his debut novel. I think it applies here as well. “A book to be read twice . . . [Grimus] is literate, it is fun, it is meaningful, and perhaps most important, it pushes the boundaries of the form outward.”
As soon as I get through the 429 books on my to-read pile, I am going to read this one again.