This is the first book I’ve read by Rushdie. It’s a collection of short stories, and divided into 3 parts: East, West, and East/West. I really liked the stories in the East section. Rushdie carves his tales with such intricacy and leaves some of the edges unfinished, which I loved. He constantly finds unique ways to of putting things into perspective that I could never think of. There’s some infusion of Eastern sayings. For instance, in one of the stories, he says “What goes of my father’s if you don’t listen?” Which, translated literally, is quite comical for a couple reasons – first, ‘goes of’ is used in place of ‘what’s it to my father’. he East.
All the stories in the book start off seemingly with only a literal meaning, but read a couple paragraphs and you’re immediately aware that there is so much more to them. It would be silly to read these stories at face value and think they were devoid of action, meaning, and feeling. Rushdie’s writing style also changes constantly from story to story – he is the protagonist in one, an objective narrator in another, the victim in some.His writing style is often confusing, especially when he interjects after each line spoken by a character to add some miniscule detail or to offer some explanation into what the character is saying. I think this is partially done to convey to the reader the narrator’s predicament in a particular situation, but primarily to test the reader’s patience and see if they’re able to get throught he whole story even with frequent interruptions. The titles of the stories are metophorical to say the least, and nothing is as it seems. There are allegories and symbols, folklore and history, magic and reality all fused to make a conglomeration of stories so unusual that I had to read a few of them twice to grasp what they were really about. And even then, I wasn’t so sure. It’s a great book – but not really something to breeze through, because it’s just more fun to think of the 7000 different meanings there could be for each story.East, West is a clever blend of cultures, lifestyles, beliefs, and misconceptions. It exploits the existence of sterotypes and takes advantage of conventional beliefs to draw upon less obvious, yet strikingly poignant observations of communites that are inherently one-of-a-kind at their core.
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