Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review: "East, West" by Salman Rushdie

I guess that this is the year for sub-par story collections, since East, West by Salman Rushdie is just as forgettable as Justin Taylor’s everything Here is the Best Thing Ever. Just like that book, I cannot pick out a single story that is exceptional or worth a stand alone read. And just like Justin Taylor’s book, this isn’t offensive enough to give a one star rating to. I read this and that book differently than I usually do, by just reading one short story at a time, but that is how I read Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts, and that is my favorite collection of stories ever. Also, with this book, I really just wanted to read a Salman Rushdie book, since I have yet to read one and have felt kind of guilty. Hopefully his novel makes up for such a sub-par book, or maybe the brutally realistic books of Aravind Adiga have turned me off of the idea of a mystical India. The stories in this particular selection are divided up into three different sections, titled “East” “West” and “East, West”. I guess the divide here is based on the geographical landscape of India, or the experience Rushdie had in England. Either way, these stories are not very good. They try to mix pop culture with customs of ancient India, but the connection it makes is a rather sloppy one that I am sure will leave many readers as confused and annoyed as I was. Some of the pop culture references are cute, such a story titled “Chekov and Zulu”, that uses Star Trek as a main theme, and the final, painfully long story “The Courter” which brings up the comics that the kids are reading. This collection was filled with duds that seemed to lack direction and therefore, had very little meaning. If you do decide to check this out, proceed with caution.
Rating: 2/5

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