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Shalimar the Clown: A Novel af Salman…
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Shalimar the Clown: A Novel (original 2005; udgave 2006)

af Salman Rushdie

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2,924534,775 (3.83)62
Gennem en række forskellige kærlighedshistorier fortælles om det smukke Kashmir, som på et tidspunkt bliver blandet ind i regionens stridigheder.
Medlem:MisterPivo
Titel:Shalimar the Clown: A Novel
Forfattere:Salman Rushdie
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2006), Paperback, 416 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

Work Information

Klovnen Shalimar : roman af Salman Rushdie (2005)

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Salman Rushdie heeft zijn naamsbekendheid waarschijnlijk meer te danken heeft aan de doodsbedreigingen aan zijn adres, dan aan zijn boeken. Niet dat zijn boeken slecht zijn, in tegendeel zelfs, maar het zijn geen makkelijk weg te lezen kaskrakers voor een groot publiek. Dat geldt zeker ook voor ‘Shalimar the clown’, zijn 14e boek , dat verscheen in 2005. Ondanks de misschien vrolijk aandoende titel is ‘Shalimar the clown’ een tragedie. Op twee niveaus: een liefdestragedie én een geopolitieke tragedie. Die twee niveaus zijn in het boek knap door elkaar heen geweven.

De liefde, dat is de jeugdliefde van Boonyi en Noman - alias Shalimar the clown. De twee zijn op dezelfde dag geboren en groeien samen op in een idyllisch dorpje hoog in de bergen van Kashmir. In het dorp wonen de meest fantastische karakters, het is bijna sprookjesachtig. De liefde van Boonyi en Noman en de normen en waarden van hun omgeving zorgen al snel voor een huwelijk. Een huwelijk dat vooral voor Boonyi wat te vroeg komt. Want zij droomt van meer en groots en meeslepend. De tragedie start als de Amerikaanse ambassadeur Max Ophuls, charmeur als hij is, zijn oog op Boonyi laat vallen. Zij grijpt haar kans. Onterecht, blijkt al snel, want de ambassadeur is al snel op haar uitgekeken. En de bedrogen Noman zint op een vreselijke wraak.

De geopolitieke tragedie schuilt in de tragische geschiedenis van Kashmir. Een paradijselijke plek, hoog in de bergen van de westelijke Himalaya, waar moslims en hindoes eeuwenlang in harmonie samenleefden, kunst maakten en theater, en niet te vergeten het ‘Banquet of 60 Courses Maximum’, een culinair hoogstandje dat geen enkele machthebber wilde missen. In de koloniale tijd was de regio onderdeel van Brits Indië, maar na het uiteenvallen van de kolonie in India en Pakistan valt deze regio tussen wal en schip. Veel Kashmiri willen een eigen staat, India stuurt zijn leger eropaf en Pakistan financiert terroristen en extremisten.

Deze grote geschiedenis van legers en oorlogen vermengt zich in het boek prachtig en bijna symbolisch met de liefdestragedie. Het laat zien hoe Kashmir steeds verder verscheurd raakt door oorlog en haat, hoe de tolerante cultuur van het gebied wordt verpletterd door extremistische krachten en hoe uiteindelijk iedereen daar slachtoffer van is. Rushdie schrijft prachtig, in mooie zinnen, met fantastische karakterschetsen van zijn hoofdpersonen en alle bijfiguren. Het zware politieke is overgoten met een laagje magisch realisme en ironische humor. En de mooiste passages? Die gaan over dingen die zo gruwelijk zijn dat ze alleen indirect, bijna poëtisch beschreven kunnen worden.

Wat iets minder sterk is, is de uitwerking van de gevoelens, de liefde tussen Boonyi en Noman, de aantrekkingskracht tussen Boonyi en Max, de haat van Noman. Al die gevoelens worden wel benoemd, maar nergens spatten ze echt van de pagina’s af. Juist doordat de karakters symbool staan voor bevolkingsgroepen blijven ze wat vlak of clichématig. Dat wordt gelukkig ruimschoots goed gemaakt door de vele pluspunten. ‘Shalimar the clown’ is een boek om langzaam in je op te nemen, om volop te genieten van de mooie zinnen en originele vondsten, van de vele literaire verwijzingen en de humor, van de knappe manier waarop de verschillende verhaallijnen met elkaar zijn verweven, en natuurlijk om te leren over de geschiedenis van Kashmir. ( )
  Tinwara | Mar 1, 2023 |
“For the rest of his life Max Ophuls would remember that instant during which the shape of the conflict in Kashmir had seemed too great and alien for his Western mind to understand, and the sense of urgent need with which he had drawn his own experience around him, like a shawl. Had he been trying to understand, or to blind himself to his failure to do so?”

This book begins with the murder of Max Ophuls, former U.S. Ambassador to India and later chief of counterterrorism, by Shalimar the Clown, while Max is visiting his illegitimate daughter, India, in California. The book then flashes back to provide the family members’ backstories. As we learn about the characters, we also learn about the culture and history of Kashmir. Initially, Kashmir is an area of peaceful coexistence among a diverse population. Over the course of the novel, it devolves into an area of violent conflict. In a similar manner, the characters are initially content, but end up embroiled in gruesome tale of revenge.

“The murderous rage of Shalimar the clown, his possession by the devil, burned fiercely in him and carried him forward, but in the murmurous night it was just one of many stories, one small particular untold tale in a crowd of such tales, one minuscule portion of the unwritten history of Kashmir.”

This is a literary work. Rushdie’s writing is dense and complex. He weaves a compelling storyline, set against a backdrop of Kashmir’s history. He expects the reader to do some heavy lifting. I looked up quite a bit of Kashmiri history to supplement the information provided in the novel. It also includes a number of local myths and legends. Suffice it to say this is not a quick and easy read, but I found it fascinating.

A few of the political, historical, and cultural topics include foreign interference, imperialism, colonialism, corruption, terrorism, and religious differences. I am not going to claim to completely understand all the interconnected elements of this book, but I definitely get the sense that this is a book about the corruption of a paradise. Rushdie is a brilliant writer.

“What happened that day in Pachigam need not be set down here in full detail, because brutality is brutality and excess is excess and that’s all there is to it. There are things that must be looked at indirectly because they would blind you if you looked them in the face, like the fire of the sun.”
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
This is a love story between the Hindu Boonyi and the Muslim Shalimar, set in a magical Kashmiri mountain village. But a careless American (with European roots) and an evil English stepmother destroy the relationship, and with it centuries of relatively peaceful coexistence in the disputed mountains between India and Pakistan.
Often told in mythic, poetic language, the story stands in for the poisoned relationship between India and Pakistan, and illustrates how colonialism at many levels has affected the modern history of the two countries, particularly in the senseless, brutal violence in the valleys of Kashmir. Or at least, that’s how Rushdie sees it, although I’m sure there are different interpretations of the history.
Rushdie makes explicit parallels with the Nazi occupation of the Franco-German town of Strasbourg and with the urban riots in the USA. (We Westerners can’t claim any political or moral superiority on this.) And his depiction of the Muslim terrorists in Pakistan and the Philippines has an implicit parallel with his own persecution by religious fanatics intent on assassinating him.
Interestingly, these sections are written in a flat, almost neutral tone that contrasts with the mythic tone of the traditional village life and love story. Rushdie seems to be deliberately making the modern parts of the story into a black and white cartoon comic book in contrast to the richness of the traditional story. It’s a little disappointing, though, that the child at the centre of the story, named Kashmiri by her mother and India by her stepmother, is mainly described in the flatter style. By the end of the novel, however, her story becomes joined with Greek mythology that represents either a unity of Western and Eastern stories or an overcoming of the East by the West. (This is left unresolved.)
I liked the story of the politics, which makes the Kashmir dispute very concrete without going into the details of the history. Rushdie’s view of the brutality of both sides – the responsibility of the Indian government and army on the one side and the Muslim fighters supported by Pakistan on the other – is unforgettably clear. Even more, I liked Rushdie’s telling of the village history, the characters of Boonyi and Shalimar how they become caught in the events. The destruction of their relationship and its outcome become an evil inverse of their love. Rushdie reflects this in the references to twin planets that both exist and do not exist, and to the combined creation and destruction in Indian cosmology.
In fact, Rushdie’s story and his writing are so complex that it takes a while to process. He brings so much into it, history, myth, personalities, magic and very playful word work, that I find it hard to assess. Many sections feel very thin, and many characterizations are cartoonish stereotypes. But in spite of being a little mystified by these choices, I very much enjoy reading him. His writing is so creative that it’s a pleasure to spend time in his imagination. What I’ve read of his other novels seems to capture people at their worst and blackest periods, but nevertheless leads to an outcome that is if not quite positive at least hopeful.
I’m not sure that this is Rushdie’s best book. The neutral style of some of the prose left me less engaged than his more playful writing, although his depiction of modern Kashmir certainly has impact. But in spite of my hesitation, this is the only book in many years that I’ve read twice, so clearly I’m willing to spend my time with it. It’s complexity and unsettling character are what drew me back for a second and more thoughtful read. To use the metaphor of the dual planets, it both is and isn’t satisfying and that makes it really interesting. ( )
  rab1953 | Jun 2, 2022 |
I was impressed at how Rushdie managed to create such a vast historical and geopolitical context and then set his diverse characters in it in such a way as to illuminate both the political context and its effect on individuals, while the individuals can also be interpreted almost allegorically. I rather disliked the character India at the beginning of the novel, and I found it hard to get into at first, but after a few chapters, it became engrossing. ( )
  Charon07 | Jul 16, 2021 |
Faith is a key component of living. Without it in some form or the other, I daresay, there is no existence.

Faith in love. Faith in military institutions. Faith in religion. Faith in neighborliness. Faith in the old ways that define us. Faith in the arts. Faith in the love and self-sacrifice of family. Faith in marriage and a spirit of unbroken togetherness. Faith in the hope for a better future.

Faith hurts when it is broken or misused.

Shalimar the Clown is a novel of Faith and the hurt caused by breaking the spirit of faith. A must-read novel. ( )
  nvenkataraman1 | Feb 5, 2021 |
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' "Shalimar the Clown" is hobbled by Mr. Rushdie's determination to graft huge political and cultural issues onto a flimsy soap opera plot.... What is most engaging about this novel - and represents a return to form, after two particularly weak and poorly observed novels - is Mr. Rushdie's creation of several compelling characters....'
tilføjet af GYKM | RedigerNew York Times, Michiko Kakutani (Sep 6, 2005)
 

» Tilføj andre forfattere (7 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Rushdie, Salmanprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Günther, CathrinOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Robben, BernhardOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Santen, Karina vanOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Sheikh, NilimaOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Vosmaer, MartineOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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