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The L.A. Times Book Review compared Shalimar the Clown (Salman Rushdie) to “ a novella by Gabriel Garcia Marquez or a movie by Quentin Tarantino or a tragedy, say, by Shakespeare,” and the comparison is apt. Rushdie is heady. He knows his subject. He can tell a story so that you see the trees and mountains and rivers, the homes and gardens, the fire and blood. You can feel the love and lust and hate. You learn some history and understand a little about a place in the world you may not have been. But, however well-written his sentences, however tightly-constructed his plot, however timely his themes, and however insightful his commentary, Rushdie—at least in this novel—fails to find the sharpness or the memorable quality that each of those authors have in their best work.

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