Review of ‘Shame’ by Salman Rushdie


It’s not often that we come across a book who shows us how inelastic our imaginations

Cover of "Shame"
Cover of Shame

are. Daily rigor petrifies our thoughts, and clutches them in rigor mortis. Sometimes we try fighting it; we mostly rely on the television to free us from it, at least temporarily.

 

Only to wake to another dawn of uneasy reality.

 

But what does a good novel do?

 

Wham!

 

One sledgehammer blow and the prison walls are broken; we fly, fly till reality seems a distant blur beneath us, and all we see is a different world.

 

Maybe that’s why I fell in love with reading.

 

Mere black on white it may be, but the voice in my head transforms plaintext into vivid landscape, populated by people whom I don’t know and at times don’t like, but try as I might, they leave me not alone.

 

I wonder if it is the author’s way of transmitting a pathogen. ‘Go infect,’ he says, and unspools the RNA of the virus over pages and pages of text. Like viruses they lie, inert till picked by a host. And once they enter the host’s mind, they quickly expand to blot out reality. Like a fevered man, the host reads. Hues fade, colors dim, sounds mute. All that exists is what the virus wants him to see, to hear, to feel.

 

And then, the world closes in as the story ends. And the virus after a dance of malevolence that has left him drained, gathers its forces, rolls up and swoops back into the covers of the book.

 

Go read Salman Rushdie‘s ‘Shame‘, and you might feel the same.

 

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