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Literature: The Satanic Verses
''To be born again, first you have to die."

On a winter's day, two men - Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha - fall out of an airplane. Miraculously, however, they survive the fall unscathed - except for the fact that suddenly Gibreel suddenly is spouting wings and a halo while Saladin is growing horns and hooves...

Published in 1988, The Satanic Verses is the novel that famously led to the infamous "Rushdie Affair," in which writer Salman Rushdie's... creative interpretation of Islam caused the Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa against his life, which still stands today. Ironically, this has only increased the book's popularity.

Despite its title, and despite the fact that Satan is heavily implied to be The Narrator, the book has very little to do with Satan explicitly (the eponymous satanic verses refer to several heretical verses of the Qu'ran). Symbolically, however...

Needs Wiki Magic.

Tropes appearing in The Satanic Verses include:

  • Alliterative Name: Voice actress Mimi Mamoulian and conman Billy Battuta.
  • Archangel Gabriel: One of the main characters is based on him.
  • Arc Words: "History".
    • Also, "To be born again, first you have to die."
  • Back Story: Everyone. Even minor characters are given multiple-page-long backstories. (The main characters' often take up an entire chapter.)
  • Big Red Devil: Saladin Chamcha looks like one, but his actions are rarely diabolical.
  • Bollywood: Farishta is a famous Bollywood actor.
  • Broken Pedestal: Mahound for Salman, after Mahound becomes The Fundamentalist and Salman sees the cracks in his religious arguments.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Both main characters seem to be at the mercy of divine intervention.
  • Doorstopper: Over 600 pages.
  • Evil Counterpart: Saladin looks like the evil one. But really he and Gibreel aren't so different. They are also Foils.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: Chamcha seems to have this for English culture, though it's not entirely unjustified.
  • The Fundamentalist: Quite a few - The Imam, Ayesha of Titlipur, and eventually, Mahound.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: Following her revelation, the Titlipur Ayesha's hair turns a gold-flecked white and she is surrounded at all times by golden butterflies.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Mahound, better known as Mohammed.
  • Horned Humanoid: Saladin Chamcha grows horns (periodically).
  • Horny Devils: Saladin develops a large sexual appetite.
  • Kill 'em All: By the end, Saladin and Zeeny are the only main characters left standing.
  • Magical Realism
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • Gibreel's visions and psychotic episodes. There are frequent disconnects between reality and his beliefs, but he does pull off a real miracle...
    • Also, Allie's encounter with the ghost of Maurice Wilson atop Everest, which can be interpreted as a supernatural experience or as a hallucination brought on by oxygen starvation.
    • Allie's crippled feet are suddenly healed after she breaks up with Gibreel. It could be a coincidence, or there could be something deeper at play.
    • Gibreel's visions of Rekha are particularly bizarre. Even if it isn't just a hallucination, it's unclear just what the specter is; Gibreel himself thinks it can't possibly be Rekha herself, as it doesn't talk like her and displays knowledge she never had. By extension, this calls into question Gibreel's assertion in the ending that Rekha murdered Allie, not him.
    • Ayesha leading the Titlipur villagers into the Arabian Sea. Everyone except the protagonist, even former skeptics, assert that the seas parted and everyone walked to safety, but to any outside observer it simply looks like they walked under the waves and drowned. The villagers are never seen again, so it's impossible to be certain of anything.
  • Mind Screw
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Mishal and Anahita Sufyan think that hosting a man-devil hybrid in their home is "wicked", in contrast to their mother's terror. They even begin speculating on the possibility that he has super powers.
  • Offing the Offspring: Rekha Merchant pushes her children ahead of her when she commits suicide by jumping off a building.
  • One Steve Limit: Hoooo boy, is this trope ever averted. Not only do some characters and key geographical locations share the same name, or deviations of the same name, they also intersect and ultimately intertwine with each other.
  • Polish Jews: Alicja and Otto Cone (Cohen), Allie's parents who are Holocaust survivors originally from Poland.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: More people have heard about the blasphemous controversy around this book than actually read it. Including many Muslim fundamentalists who want author Salman Rushdie dead.
  • Switching P.O.V./ Rotating Protagonist: There's an easily identifiable, very snarky person that's relaying the story to us as though he/she/it were a close personal friend, but we also have occasional leaps in the point of view, sometimes within several passages of a single chapter, to several of the main characters for the section. The most glaring example would be in part 6, Return to Jahilia, where, starting on page 375, the point of view briefly, and rather unexpectedly, jumps from an elderly Baal reuniting with Salman to "And Gibreel dreamed this:", back to Salman, relaying what has happened during his service during Mahound's 25-year exile.
  • Self-Deprecation: One of the late disciples of Mahound, Salman, shares the same first name as the author, Salman Rushdie. On page 103, Abu Simbel, the Grandee of Jahilia, comments on this:
    Abu Simbel approaches this area, halts a little way off. In the enclosure is a small group of men. The water-carrier Khalid is there, and some sort of bum from Persia by the outlandish name of Salman...
  • Super Power Meltdown: Saladin bursts into flames now and then.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Gibreel, during his psychotic episodes.

The Rules of AttractionLit FicThe Savage Detectives
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alternative title(s): The Satanic Verses
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