Shalimar the Clown is the story of Maximilian Ophuls, America’s counterterrorism chief, one of the makers of the modern world; his Kashmiri Muslim driver and subsequent killer, a mysterious figure who calls himself Shalimar the clown; Max’s illegitimate daughter India; and a woman who links them, whose revelation finally explains them all.
It is an epic narrative that moves from California to Kashmir, France, and England, and back to California again. Along the way there are tales of princesses lured from their homes by demons, legends of kings forced to defend their kingdoms against evil. And there is always love, gained and lost, uncommonly beautiful and mortally dangerous.
“Book of the Year.” — Time
“One of the best books of the year.” — The Washington Post Book World –Los Angeles Times Book Review –St. Louis Post-Dispatch –Rocky Mountain News –Chicago Tribune –The Christian Science Monitor
“A sprawling tale of love and politics. . . . A daring aesthetic and political balancing act that traffics in many of the major concerns of post-colonial literature, but always within an evolving and bravely empathetic story. . . . One of Rushdie’s best, and an important and rewarding must-read.” —National Post
“Read Shalimar the Clown for the effervescent fun factor that is always present in Rushdie’s work. . . and for its devastating portrait of the destruction of Kashmir.” —The Globe and Mail
“[Shalimar the Clown] is that rare highwire act, a literary thriller. It seems a vigorous rebutal to the recent dismissal of fiction by V. S. Naipaul, to the effect that ‘if you write a novel… it’s of no account.'” —Financial Times (UK)
“A masterly deployment of interconnected narratives spanning six decades. . . . Dazzling. . . . A magical-realist masterpiece that equals, and arguably surpasses, the achievements of Midnight’s Children, Shame and TheMoor’s Last Sigh. The Swedes won’t dare to offend Islam by giving Rushdie the Nobel Prize he deserves more than any other living writer. Injustice rules.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The. . .transformation of Shalimar into a terrorist is easily the most impressive achievement of the book, and here one must congratulate Rushdie for having made artistic capital out of his own suffering, for the years spent under police protection, hunted by zealots, have been poured into the novel in ways which ring hideously true. . . . Shalimar the Clown is a powerful parable about the willing and unwilling subversion of multiculturalism.” —Publishers Weekly
“Dazzling . . . Modern thriller, Ramayan epic, courtroom drama, slapstick comedy, wartime adventure, political satire, village legend–they’re all blended here magnificently.” —The Washington Post Book World
“A commanding story . . . [a] harrowing climax . . . Revenge is an ancient and powerful engine of narrative.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Absorbing . . . Everywhere [Rushdie] takes us there is both love and war, in strange and terrifying combinations, painted in swaying, swirling, world-eating prose that annihilates the borders between East and West, love and hate, private lives and the history they make.” —Time
“A vast, richly peopled, beautiful and deeply rageful book that serves as a profound and disturbing artifact of our times.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Marvelous . . . brilliant . . . a story worthy of [Rushdie’s] genius.” —Detroit Free Press