The Satanic Verses

” ‘To be born again,’ sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, ‘first you have to die.”

This opening sentence from the book that brought a death sentence to Salman Rushdie lets you know you’re in for a fantastical story. I heard Rushdie speak years ago in Portland and was surprised to find him so charming and funny — at odds with the serious face shown in news reports of him in hiding. I needed more knowledge of Islam to fully undertsand this book. You’ll find various study guides online if you’re a Westerner like me who needed additional information to see what was so blasphemous to the Ayatollah Khomeini. What books have you found difficult but worth the effort?

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