Rushdie's finest novel for years
Los Angeles, 1991. Maximilian Ophuls is knifed to death on the doorstep of his illegitimate daughter India, slaughtered by his Kashmiri driver, a mysterious figure who calls himself Shalimar the Clown. The dead man is a World War II Resistance hero, a man of formidable intellectual ability and much erotic appeal, a former United States ambassador to India, and subsequently America’s counter-terrorism chief. The murder looks at first like a political assassination but turns out to be passionately personal.
This is the story of Max, his killer, and his daughter – and of a fourth character, the woman who links them all. The story of a deep love gone fatally wrong, destroyed by a shallow affair, it is an epic narrative that moves from California to France, England, and above all, Kashmir: a ruined paradise, not so much lost as smashed.
“Salman Rushdie has earned the right to be called one of our great story tellers”
“There can seldom have been so robust and baroque an incarnation of the political novel as Shame. It can be read as a fable, polemic or excoriation; as history or as fiction... This is the novel as myth and as satire ”
“Shame is every bit as good as Midnight's Children. It is a pitch-black comedy of public life and historical imperatives”
“Salman Rushdie is a magnificent writer. He has a free-ranging imagination and a coarse, strong wit. He attackes language with energy and without constraint”
“Shame is and is not about Pakistan, that invented, imaginary country... The theme is shame and shamelessness, born from the violence which is modern history. Revelation and obscurity, affairs of honour, blushings of all parts, the recession of erotic life, the open violence of public life, create the extraordinary Rushdie mood”
Malcolm Bradbury, Guardian
“Every bit as good as Midnight's Children”