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Book excerpt: "Victory City" by Salman Rushdie

Random House

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Acclaimed author Salman Rushie, whose 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses" prompted a death threat imposed by Iranian cleric Ayatollah Khomeini, and who miraculously survived an assassination attempt last August, has returned with his latest novel, a grand historical fantasy that originates in 14th century India.

"Victory City" (Random House) is crafted as the recreation of an ancient epic about a civilization's rise and fall, told through the voice of a woman touched by a goddess' inspiration. 

Read an excerpt below.   

"Victory City" by Salman Rushdie (Hardcover)

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On the last day of her life, when she was two hundred and forty-seven years old, the blind poet, miracle worker, and prophetess Pampa Kampana completed her immense narrative poem about Bisnaga and buried it in a clay pot sealed with wax in the heart of the ruined Royal Enclosure, as a message to the future. Four and a half centuries later we found that pot and read for the first time the immortal masterpiece named the Jayaparajaya, meaning "Victory and Defeat," written in the Sanskrit language, as long as the Ramayana, made up of twenty-four thousand verses, and we learned the secrets of the empire she had concealed from history for more than one hundred and sixty thousand days. We knew only the ruins that remained, and our memory of its history was ruined as well, by the passage of time, the imperfections of memory, and the falsehoods of those who came after. As we read Pampa Kampana's book the past was regained, the Bisnaga Empire was reborn as it truly had been, its women warriors, its mountains of gold, its generosity of spirit and its times of mean-spiritedness, its weaknesses and its strengths. We heard for the first time the full account of the kingdom that began and ended with a burning and a severed head. This is that story, retold in plainer language by the present author, who is neither a scholar nor a poet but merely a spinner of yarns, and who offers this version for the simple entertainment and possible edification of today's readers, the old and the young, the educated and the not so educated, those in search of wisdom and those amused by folly, northerners and southerners, followers of different gods and of no gods, the broad-minded and the narrow-minded, men and women and members of the genders beyond and in between, scions of the nobility and rank commoners, good people and rogues, charlatans and foreigners, humble sages, and egotistical fools.

From the book "Victory City" by Salman Rushdie. Copyright © 2023 by Salman Rushdie. Reprinted by arrangement with Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.    

Get the book here:

"Victory City" by Salman Rushdie (Hardcover)

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From 2002: Salman Rushdie on life after fatwa 09:27
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