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Salman Rushdie and his commitment to joy

2023-03-03T10:47:28.245Z


The Nicaraguan author, persecuted by the dictatorial government of her country, evokes her friend while offering an enthusiastic reading of her latest novel, 'Ciudad Victoria'


Salman Rushdie is the writer friend with whom I have laughed the most.

Famous, persecuted, he is so flesh and blood as evidenced by the injuries he suffered after the attack on August 11, 2022. Fame, successes and even the fearsome condemnation of Ayatollah Khomeini have never managed to suppress his joy of living and its connection to reality.

In addition to his literary vocation, he is a lover of movies, music, good food and good conversation.

His capacity for wonder, his curiosity and playful spirit make him enjoy both his intellectual friends, as well as brushing up against Hollywood stars, or eccentric characters like Larry David who invited him as an actor to his series Curb

your enthusiasm

in Los Angeles.

He has been willing to visit Las Vegas as a tourist, travel to remote islands, go to the stadium as a fan of the New York Yankees, or his favorite soccer team Tottenham Hotspur;

He has been seen on show business stages, the Oscars, Bono concerts, museum galas, his friend Bill Maher's

Politically Incorrect

TV show ... He has given free rein to his curiosity by taking advantage of the opportunities that come his way.

offers to be who he is.

Joy, not tragedy, has been the engine of his life.

It is what has allowed him to survive the tribulations that hatred and fanaticism have given him.

Joy, not tragedy, has been the engine of his life.

It is what has allowed him to survive the tribulations that hatred and fanaticism have given him.

And he has not only survived them, but he has not flinched.

He has given time and dedication to a strong and active defense of freedom.

There are countless essays and conferences that he has given on the subject.

Salman has been president of PEN America and a leading figure in PEN International, the world's oldest NGO.

Founded by writers in 1920, it advocates for persecuted authors and journalists and carries out outstanding work in denouncing violations of freedom of expression all over the planet.

Salman founded the PEN World Voices Festival in New York, to bring the voices of authors from other languages ​​and other worlds to the island space of culture.

American mainstream

.

Roberto Saviano and Salman Rushdie at the Swedish Academic in 2008. CLAUDIO BRESCIANI (AFP)

His vital experience is what is reflected in his novels, full of humor and irony.

His imagination is a boiling river.

Critics don't always manage to swim through those rapids where the author plunges them into illusory worlds, inordinate characters, literary allusions, and disconcerting parallel plots.

His novels are marked by the stamp of a willingness to investigate human nature and the fluid relationship between the fantastic and the real.

His essay books are sharp and concerned with the fragile values ​​of modern society, democracy, freedom, racism, the meaning of multiculturalism, cancel culture.

Ever since I read

Children of Midnight,

I was fascinated that he could fabricate a magical connection between all beings born at midnight on August 15, 1947, the day of the Independence of India and the partition of Pakistan.

The 1001 children of midnight all have magical powers.

The novel's protagonist, Saleem Sinai, is telepathy.

He can hear all those who, like him, were born at the midnight of independence.

In

Quichotte

, the writer of mediocre novels, Sam Du Champ, creates an imitation of

Don Quixote

, except that his

Quichotte

He doesn't go crazy by reading books on chivalry, but by watching television programs and his Dulcinea is one of the artists of these programs.

He crosses the United States wanting to make merit for his Dulcinea.

Along the way, a son of his imagination appears next to him, a young man who plays Sancho Panza.

I loved his philosophical disquisitions and existential dialogues, conflicted by his imaginary existence.

His novels all bear the

Rushdian stamp:

they are intellectually sophisticated as well as wildly imaginative and humorous, revealing the human underside of any delusion of grandeur.

His novels all bear the Rushdian stamp: they are intellectually sophisticated as well as wildly imaginative and humorous, revealing the human underside of any delusion of grandeur.

My most recent dazzle with all of Rushdie's work has been reading his novel that appeared in Spain on February 9:

Ciudad Victoria

.

I read it mesmerized by its lyrical beauty and its proverbial habit of recounting impossible realities with humor and conviction.

It seemed like a prodigy to me, an epic comparable only to one of those epoch-making books in the sense that One Hundred Years of Solitude

did

.

For those who have not yet read Salman Rushdie, this book is a perfect introduction to his literature.

It is a fable that refers to a world that oscillates between the

Thousand and One Nights

and the fairy tales.

The author's imagination works on the actual existence of the Vijayanagara empire which existed from the 1336th to 1646th century in South India.

It was an empire tolerant of all religions, productive, where the arts flourished, where women held important positions, and architectural works were created that still exist in Hampi, South India, and which have been declared a World Heritage Site.

At the beginning of the novel, an episode that happened in reality in 1327-28 before the founding of Ciudad Victoria is narrated.

This is a ritual mass suicide, a

jauhar

.

In the novel, the protagonist, Pampa Kampana, is a girl when her mother lets go of her hand and enters the pyre where she will burn like hundreds of others.

Pampa Kampana remains an orphan and is inhabited by a goddess who has spoken of her through her mouth since she was nine years old.

When she becomes an adult, she entrusts two humble cowboys to spread, following her instructions, some seeds.

Men see, after doing the work, how not only the buildings and streets of the city, but also its inhabitants emerge from those seeds.

At first people walk around not knowing who she is.

They are newborn adults.

Pampa Kampana goes into a trance and whispers her story in each of her ears.

The next day, based on their origin stories, each knows their place in society and their job.

Magically, the city begins to live.

A Portuguese baptizes her Bisnaga.

Both the Portuguese travelers who appear in the text, and the cowboys who later become rulers of the kingdom, figure in the true story of Vijayanagara, but in Rushdie's, it is Pampa Kampana who pulls the strings.

We read about peace and war, about elephants, walls that rise from night to day, queens who are experts in poisons, love and heartbreak.

Pampa Kampana is harshly punished in an episode of chills, a premonitory of what happened to the author of the novel in the attack on August 22.

walls that rise from night to day, expert queens in poisons, love and heartbreak.

Pampa Kampana is harshly punished in an episode of chills, a premonitory of what happened to the author of the novel in the attack on August 22.

walls that rise from night to day, expert queens in poisons, love and heartbreak.

Pampa Kampana is harshly punished in an episode of chills, a premonitory of what happened to the author of the novel in the attack on August 22.

His latest novel is a prodigy, an epic only comparable to one of those books that make an era in the sense that 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' did.

Since Borges was referring to lost manuscripts, Rushdie uses the resource as a narrator of the manuscript that Pampa Kampana has written and which is found in a clay container.

At the end of it all, she says, what remains of the great empires are the words.

The Word as the beginning and end of everything.

Pampa Kampana is the most powerful and magical protagonist, in my opinion, in Salman Rushdie's literature, and the novel is his most feminist reading of a possible utopia.

Pampa Kampana is wise, free, compassionate and generous, cunning, eternally young.

In her life of more than two hundred years, she is the weaver and maker of the city, but she cannot decide its future.

She is a mother Eva, creator of life, lover and beloved, magical, and also punished by the irrational rage of her own creations.

I would have liked to quote some passages from the novel, but when trying to choose them, I realize that it would be necessary to quote all of it.

That's why you have to read it and plunge into the imagination of one of the great writers of our time.

It is a blessing for literature that Salman Rushdie has survived.

I think this horrible attack won't be able to against his life force either.

He has already manifested his spirit of defiance by showing himself as the pirate from one of his stories, with an eyepatch that he lost, and a smile that affirms his willingness to stay alive and keep the word.

Gioconda Belli is a Nicaraguan poet and novelist exiled in Madrid.

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Source: elparis

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