Rushdie's finest novel for years!
Los Angeles, 1991. Maximilian Ophuls, one of the makers of the modern world, is knifed to death in broad daylight 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, whose story explains 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. At its heart is the tale of that earthly paradise of peach orchards and honey bees, of mountains and lakes, of green-eyed women and murderous men: a ruined paradise, not so much lost as smashed.
“Shalimar the Clown is Rushdie's most engaging book since Midnight's Children”
Jason Cowley, Observer
“This is Rushdie at his most flamboyant”
John Sutherland, Financial Times
Theo Tait, London Review of Books
“The story is exciting and memorably analyses the way in which fanaticism can wreck the most inoffensive lives”
Anthony Gardner, Mail on Sunday
“Shalimar unites the gaudy, romantic love-revenge-death conceits of grand opera with the down-and-dirty preoccupations of contemporary politics...Here are rollicking storytelling, virtuosic language, a smidgeon of magical-realist special effects and, yes, dead-on dialogue”
Dan Cryer, Newsday
“There are great sweeping set-pieces, like the maharajah's abortive banquet just after Partition, as the old tolerant order is swept away in a thunderstorm that recalls the climactic scene in Midnight's Children. There are reams of biting satire on the Indian army's myopia or the intransigence of the jihadists, a potpourri of portents, a clash of multi -dimensional symbolism, and also, amid the gradual assemblage of tragedy, unexpected flashes of comedy.”
David Robinson, Scotsman
“I'd say it's his best novel yet”
“There are some breathtakingly eloquent passages ”