Friday, May 15, 2009

Salman Rushdie Story review

I've read most of Salman Rushdie's novels, but never a story. In fact, I always file him under Novelist, not short-story writer. So I read through his recently published New Yorker story with a lot of interest.

In the South is about old age and its attendant downside set in Bombay, Rushdie’s favourite city. Two characters emerge, V. Senior and V.Junior, two adjacent neighbours in an apartment building, both 81-year-old, but with entirely different background, Senior having a successful past and Junior just an ordinary clerk in his working life. Obviously, circumstances put them together, but Senior hates Junior in every conceivable way.

Senior is actually the protagonist of the story. He’s cynical, cold, mean, heartless, and hates practically everybody including his second wife “with a wooded leg”. When Junior falls down in an accident while on their afternoon walk together, Senior slips away, and he is not really shocked by Junior’s death.

Curiously, Senior is much too obsessive about death. We see more of his instincts in his living than any other thing, and at times he seems like a monster weakened by age. In many ways, he represents an average man of this time, but it is hard to believe that he has not a little redemptive side to his character.

Does this story, otherwise well-crafted and a great read, reflect Rushhdie’s current insights into today’s man and life? What however elevates the story is the final part when a big calamity appears,(note such calamities frequently happen in Rushdie's works) and after many, many deaths Senior sees Junior again before him. That cliche magic realism, brand Rushdie!

I'm not sure I liked the story.

No comments:

Search This Blog

My Blog List