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Salman Rushdie's first novel after being attacked becomes a phenomenon before its publication


Critics enthusiastically receive 'Ciudad Victoria', an Indian epic whose original had finished before the attack in August that caused him to lose an eye and the mobility of a hand

Salman Rushdie returns to his origins.

To the chaotic and immanent India;

to delve into the crucible of his history and his myths.

And to literature, from which an attack last August in New York was about to separate him from him and from which

Ciudad Victoria

, his new novel, now exacts full revenge.

The usual Rushdie returns to the charge, overflowing and torrential, reinforced in his literary mission ―freedom through the word― by the stab wounds inflicted on him by a follower of the Iranian ayatollahs in an event that separated him from public life and from which physical sequelae have remained, such as the loss of an eye and the mobility of a hand.

The writer had finished the

Ciudad Victoria original,

which is published next week, before the incident.

The deferred execution of the fatwa that Tehran issued in 1989 against the Anglo-Indian writer for his novel

Satanic Verses

has therefore left no trace in his new work, an Indian epic riddled with humor, which has been greeted with praise by critics. display of praise

“Colossal and deep, lofty and resplendent.

Every page is magical, every page is splendid," said writer Michael Cunningham, author of

The Hours.


“An epic tale that takes us back to key questions about what it means to be human, to be authentic, to love and to grieve,” according to novelist AM Homes.

"A saga of love, adventure and myth that constitutes in itself a testimony to the power of storytelling", is advertised by the American bookstore chain Barnes & Noble, which is particularly topical due to its ambitious expansion plans.

More information

Salman Rushdie, stabbed in the neck while giving a lecture in New York

Like Barnes & Noble, the main bookstores in the US, where the writer has lived for years, have already received an avalanche of orders, although the volume will not be available until the 9th, such is the expectation generated by the new work of the perennial candidate to the Nobel.

Ciudad Victoria

tells the story of a girl, Pampa Kampana, who in the fourteenth century is possessed by a goddess who begins to speak through her mouth.

By divine design, the girl will be the cornerstone in the erection of a great city that will be called the "city of victory";

she will be the intermediary, the medium, but she will never become the queen.

The protagonist thus becomes an uncrowned factotum of the empire, whose adventures are documented in a narrative poem in Sanskrit placed in a clay pot and later buried underground, and whose discovery illuminates the plot of the novel.

The narrator assures that

Ciudad Victoria

is the abbreviated translation of the Pampa epic,


(compound word, which means victory and defeat at the same time), told in “simpler language” and more succinct than the original 24,000 verses.

A trompe l'oeil of voices that replicate each other.

Writers and supporters of Salman Rushdie, in a tribute to the writer in New York a week after the attack. BRENDAN MCDERMID (Reuters)

The story takes place in a real setting, that of the Vijayanagara empire, which covered most of southern India in the 15th and 16th centuries and was a melting pot of cultures and ideas, and where battles take place between forgotten kingdoms and lords of the war, magical encounters, treachery and greed;

hidden powers that escape human nature.

Everything stirs in the pages of

Ciudad Victoria

, in addition to a gender reading: the figure of Pampa Kampana, who aspired to the scepter without achieving it, as a vindication of women in a patriarchal world (the collective suicide on a pyre of her mother and other soldiers' widows is a reminder of the fate of Indian women).

The novel is a great fresco, almost a cosmogony.

But it also contains messages that, in light of the attack suffered by Rushdie, are now relevant: the ever-looming shadow of intolerance, like the one that has haunted the writer for decades;

pluralism as a desire, frustrated when it descends from ideas to facts.

Themes already present in

Hijos de la medianoche


El último suspiro del moro


"Brilliantly written as a translation of an epic text from antiquity,

Ciudad Victoria

is a saga of love, adventure and myths that is itself a testament to the power of storytelling," recalls the claim of the Barnes & Bookstore. Noble.

A display of magical realism, some describe it, as if that definition were not the very mold of India.

Those who have predicted the death of the novel have surely had to swallow the prediction with each new Rushdie book, and

Ciudad Victoria

makes number 16. This "lavish fairy tale", according to the critics of

The Guardian newspaper,

drinks from the fertile Indian epics and incorporates humor as a house brand.

"Contagious sense of fun", underlines the British newspaper: the hilarious, mischievous and buzzy Rushdie of always.

In addition to magical realism, in Rushdie's novel there is a lot of true history, encoded in a game of mirrors or


, the Russian dolls.

The entire narrative has a historical basis.

The brothers Hukka and Bukka, Pampa troupes and military leaders, existed, as well as the city they founded after Pampa scattered a bunch of seeds to the wind.

Vijayanagar, capital of the empire from 1336 to 1565 -the period of time that the long-lived Pampa lived, which reaches 247 years and yet appears ever younger-, survives today in the ruins of Hampi, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Ciudad Victoria

is presented in the first lines as a manuscript found in a clay pot buried long ago, an “immense narrative poem” in Sanskrit written by Pampa Kampana herself: the secret history of an empire, condensed by a current scribe without name, "a humble author, neither a scholar nor a poet, but simply a spinner of threads," the narrator's voice-over says of himself.

A demiurge with a name and surname, those of Salman Rushdie, author of this


Ramayana .

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Source: elparis

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