Book Review: Shame


Title: Shame
Author: Salman Rushdie
Language: English
Format: Paperback

I have heard Salman Rushdie since I was a very young girl. Of course in Indonesia, it is almost impossible for me to come home with a copy — but I did not understand why. So while I got the chance to lay my hands on one of his books, I chose this one to start with.

Shame is a story revolving around a man named Omar Khayam Shakil who has three mothers and no father, living in a politically unstable fictional country. The story is narrated by an anonymous character who has never introduced himself to the readers, yet somehow it is not important as he has no involvement in the story itself.

It is just interesting since the beginning, but it became even more interesting when the anonymous character started to throw in clues about how similar the fictional country and cities in the story is to Pakistan and its cities.

For someone who has been completely blind about the political and military history in Pakistan, the story is such an epic journey to follow. Of course it would be highly exaggerated. After all, it is a fiction. However, the way it is written, the dark and gritty humour that was meant to be satire — has pushed the boundaries of political fiction, which some groups of people might find offensive.

The book is deep and critical, and mock so many things believed by some particular communities. It provoked the thoughts and made people questions, while at the same time never cease to entertain me as a reader.

I would have to say that I really love this book. This has everything I would expect to read in a socio-political fiction. It successfully portrayed the cultural movement, the political condition, and the social situation in details without converting into a university textbook (not that the university textbook is boring or something…)

This book deserves the rating of 5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially those who are interested in the socio-political situation in the Middle East.


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