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Salman Rushdie's Victory City: A Journey to India


Salman Rushdie's new book Victory City is inspired by a Hindu empire that no longer exists. At the same time, it is a story of today's world.

Salman Rushdie's new book Victory City is inspired by a Hindu empire that no longer exists.

At the same time, it is a story of today's world.

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After the renewed assassination attempt on Salman Rushdie, the cultural world was in excitement.

Will there be a new book by him?

Do the injuries allow reading and writing?

Six months after the knife attack, the well-known author published his new book "Victory City".

It is a journey into the fabled city of Hampi and the moral issues of our time.

Salman Rushdie "Victory City": About the Book


With "Victory City" the writer Salman Rushdie presents a powerfully eloquent novel.

© Matt Crossick/picture alliance/dpa/PA Wire/Randomhouse (Montage)

Rushdie refers in "Victory City" to the fabled city of Hampi, formerly known as Vijayanagara, which served as the capital of the defunct Hindu Empire from 1343 to 1565.

However, no prior knowledge of Indian history is required to understand this novel.

Rather, the author looked at this historical backdrop and then made something entirely of his own out of it.

South India in the 14th century: The nine-year-old orphan Pampa Kampana is chosen by a goddess to be her human shell and her mouthpiece into the world.

In her name, Pampa creates a city from a handful of seeds: Bisnaga - Victory City, the wonder of the world.

All her actions are based on the great task that the goddess has set for her: to give women an equal role in a patriarchal world.


blurb / Goldman

"Victory City" with an ironic introduction

In the tongue-in-cheek introduction, Rushdie presents these pages not as his own creation, but only as his "completely derived" summary of an ancient epic poem.

According to him, the Sanskrit text was recently discovered in a clay jar in the ruins of Vijayanagar.

This immortal masterpiece called "Jayaparajaya" is the work of a prophetess named Pampa Kampana who died in 1565 at the age of 247.

The most expensive books in the world: works worth millions

The most expensive books in the world: works worth millions

In the 1980s, UNESCO declared the ruins on the banks of Tungabhadra a World Heritage Site.

As this restoration project continues, Rushdie poses as a simple translator, summing it all up.

He treads cautiously, rarely pausing to point out an odd gap in the original text.

So he almost seems to withdraw as a narrator and let the reader create his own mental cinema.

Otherwise, we hurtle through the adventures of several generations of a once-great kingdom as if we were stepping into an Indian version of Game of Thrones.

"Victory City": The Rise and Fall of the Vijayanagar Empire

The story begins long before the rise and fall of the Vijayanagar Empire, in the smoldering remains of a conquered kingdom.

The surviving widows leave their stronghold, build a great bonfire along the river, and then burst into the flames.

Pampa Kampana, the nine-year-old daughter of one of the women, is left traumatized.

Pampa is a deeply compassionate and vulnerable superhero who rules her city with great wisdom and deep knowledge.

She hopes to create some kind of feminist utopia, but the road is long and arduous.

Sometimes she has political power, sometimes she is despised.

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The tone of "Victory City" remains surprisingly humble.

The clutter that sometimes cropped up in Rushdie's novels is tamed here, replaced with a softer humor and more subtle satire.

The enormous time frame of the story and the predicted catastrophe at the end let a melancholy swing through.

Rushdie's heroine is aware of the dangers but drawn into the story as if she believes that by inventing a story she could avert evil or at least leave something good and lasting behind.

Salman Rushdie "Victory City": Conclusion

With “Victory City”, Salman Rushdie offers a powerfully eloquent novel and an adventurous ride through history.

It is a modern and epic novel where words are victorious.

Pampa concludes with "Words are the only winners".

How fitting!

Salman Rushdie "Victory City"

Translated from English by Bernhard Robben

2023 Heyne, ISBN-13 978-3-328-60294-1

Price: hardcover €26, e-book €21.99, 450 pages (deviating from the format)

Order here!

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay in 1947 and studied history at Cambridge.

Through his novel "Midnight Children" (promotional link) he achieved worldwide fame.

His books have received prestigious international awards, including the Booker Prize, and have been translated into many languages.

In 1996 he received the EU's Aristeion Literature Prize for his complete works.

In 2007 he was knighted by the Queen.

Rubric list image: © Matt Crossick/picture alliance/dpa/PA Wire/Randomhouse (Montage)

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2023-04-28

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