Title: The Satanic Verses
Author: Salman Rushdie
As I begin to try to piece together my thoughts on this book into something cohesive, I recall something that one of the characters, Allie Cone, says about her experience of climbing Everest:
“Why speak if you can’t manage perfect thoughts, perfect sentences? It feels like a betrayal of what you’ve been through.” (306)
Bel Canto was, for me, a book I experienced emotionally and the emotional theme was consistent enough for me to attempt to describe it. The Satanic Verses, however, was a book that while triggering emotional responses I experienced cerebrally. It made me think, and as always my thoughts were scattered – 1000 different ideas tapping 1000 different memories, synapses firing all at once. Like “The Wire,” this one gave me dreams. Though unlike The Wire, I dreamed of The Satanic Verses while I was awake.
Allie goes on to say, “But it fades, you accept that certain compromises, closures, are required if you’re to continue.”
On Religion: I’m a silver-lining kind of girl. I managed to find the ending of Requiem For A Dream hopeful rather than bleak, but I was pretty depressed at the end of The Satanic Verses. And what’s weird, is that I felt that this was a silver-lining kind of book. It’s set in the 80’s, but I had difficulty keeping that in mind because it’s still so relevant. And I guess that’s what got me down despite the general tone of optimism: It doesn’t seem like we’ve made any progress. For example, “Fact is, religious faith, which encodes the highest aspirations of human race, is now, in our country, the servant of lowest instincts, and God is the creature of evil” (533). I suppose this is why more and more people are becoming less and less religious, why I myself, am not very religious, but I’ve always kind of been rooting for religion. I realize I’ve just earned the scorn of my fellow Lewis & Clark-ians, but I really was (am?), and for exactly the reason stated in the first part of the quote – religion encodes our highest aspirations. Maybe it’s more accurate to say that it is a vessel for our hopes and when the vessel is corrupted, our hopes leak out or are corrupted themselves. And not to sound pathetically naive, but it breaks my heart that it’s come to that, that my hopes for religion are fragments on the floor.
On Language: “Language is courage: the ability to conceive a thought, to speak it, and by doing so to make it true.” (290)
Crazy. I was *just* talking about this in my Bel Canto post.
“They describe us…That’s all. They have the power of description, and we succumb to the pictures they construct.” (174)
On Becoming: “…the inexorability of an impossible thing that was insisting on its right to become.” (32)
In my New Yorker post, I quoted another story by Rushdie in which someone was “striving to become.” I like this idea of becoming – it suggests a transition state, a metamorphosis; it seems appropriate for someone in their Odyssey Years.
Life is full of circles – lately I’ve been thinking about high school a lot. I think it’s because I’m having feelings similar to those I had then. In high school I often felt frustrated that I could not experience in life the things I was reading about in books. I impatiently waited for the time when I would have the means to “do.” The problem was that I had no clue what it was that begged “doing.” I feel that same impatience now, and while the picture of what I want to do is far from clear, I have a better sense of it and I’m eager to get to it. To figure it out as I go. To become.
(3/7 – books read/books I resolved to read)