More cow bell

Everyone knows Salman Rushdie is a great writer. His sentences are love songs set in crystal prose. Like this one from Shalimar the Clown:

Anees Noman was captured alive, though suffering from gunshot wounds in the right leg and shoulder, after an encounter with security forces in the southwestern village of Siot, where he had holed up with twenty militant fighters aged between fifteen and nineteen above a food store called Ahdoo’s whose owner called in the troops because the youngsters drank all his cans of condensed milk, a decision he regretted after the army wrecked his shop with grenades that blew out the whole front wall of the small two-story wooden building, and several hundred rounds of automatic fire from an armored vehicle parked at point-blank range which destroyed all the produce that had managed to survive the grenade blast.

As opposed to the far less impressive version which might have been written:

Although wounded, Anees Noman was captured alive.

If you read back over Rushdie’s actual sentence you might notice that the author doesn’t include the pre-machine gunned price of the eggplant … what editing!

Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter

In Shakespeare In Love, a young Will Shakespeare is angry that his girl-friend has stepped out on him so he destroys his newest play, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. As the narrative progresses, he is smitten with the woman he learns is Viola de Lesseps and proceeds to pour forth words of love and longing, overcoming his writer’s block, and creating Romeo and Juliet. Good story, right? But everyone knows that Shakespeare was copying and improving on earlier works such as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke (Italian) and the Palace of Pleasure by William Painter.

Continue reading “Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter”


We have all been cornered by an associate or an uncle who runs on and on with stories within opinions within anecdotes within other stories. Ah, those unforgettable hours of being unable to break into the convoluted soliloquy and instead sit anxiously waiting for the point of the tale:  it’s not that the individual stories are uninteresting (even if you have heard them several times before) but rather that the endless drone begins to make a stint at the Château d’If seem preferable.

But the subject is the narrative style of Salman Rushdie.

Continue reading “Shalimar”