The Author (1) Salman Rushdie (1947-). An Indian-born British essayist and author of fiction, most of which is set on the Indian subcontinent. His narrative style, blending myth and fantasy with real life, has been described as connected with magic realism.
The Author (2) His second novel, Midnight's Children, catapulted him to literary fame and is often considered his best work to date. It also significantly shaped the course that Indian writing in English was to follow over the next decade. This work was later awarded the 'Booker of Bookers' prize in 1993 – after being selected as the best novel to be awarded the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. Rushdie is highly influenced by modern literature. Midnight's Children borrows themes from Günter Grass's novel The Tin Drum, which Rushdie claims inspired him to begin writing. The Satanic Verses is also clearly influenced by Mikhail Bulgakov's classic Russian novel The Master and Margarita.
The Author (3) The publication of The Satanic Verses in September 1988 caused immediate controversy in the Islamic world due to its allegedly irreverent depiction of the prophet Muhammad. For example, the book was ceremonially burned in Bradford, England, on January 14, 1989, and at the University of California at Berkeley, bookstores carrying the book were firebombed. On February 14, 1989, a fatwa promising his execution was proclaimed on Radio Tehran by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran, calling his book “blasphemous against Islam.” On February 24, Khomeini placed a three-million-U.S. dollar bounty for the death of Rushdie. Rushdie lived for a time under British-financed security.
Characterisation protagonists: Miss Rehana Muhammad Ali minor characters: Consulate guard (bearded lala) Tuesday women indirect: Mustafa Dar (of Bradford, England) third-person narrator
Setting Where? Outside the British Consulate in an unnamed Pakistani town. When? Anytime between 1962 and the present. (the story is from 1994) Before 1962, people from Britain’s old colonies were free to enter the country.
Miss Rehana She’s beautiful. Her eyes are “large and black and bright”. The Tuesday women all look frightened. Miss Rehana, on the other hand, does not seem at all alarmed. She doesn’t accept Muhammad Ali’s advice. We learn that she didn’t want to get a visa at all. At the age of 9 she was engaged to Mustafa Dar, who was 30 at the time. She has a good job as ayah (or nurse) to three boys, and doesn’t want to go to England.
Muhammad Ali He’s an old “advice expert”. He’s really a con-artist, who charges out-of-town Tuesday women exorbitant sums to supply them with visas they never get. He is captivated by Miss Rehana, and offers her his “advice” for free. To his astonishment, she does not accept his advice. In his world, visas are the most valuable commodity there is. Everyone he meets wants a visa. Perhaps this is why he cannot comprehend that Miss Rehana is happy not to have gotten one.
Plot A young woman, Miss Rehana, arrives at the British Consulate. She is to apply for a visa so that she can join her fiancée, Mustafa Dar, in Bradford, England. Muhammad Ali, an old crook who preys on women who come to apply for visas, is enthralled by Miss Rehana. He offers her free advice, which she refuses. When she comes out of the consulate, it is revealed that she didn’t want to go to England after all. In fact she used Muhammad Ali’s advice to be refused a visa, not to get one. Muhammad Ali, however, does not seem to grasp this, and is flabbergasted that she seems so pleased to have been refused a visa.