Shame (Rushdie novel)
|08 September 1983|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover, Paperback)|
|Pages||317 (1983 edition)|
|LC Class||PR6068.U757 S5 1983|
Shame is Salman Rushdie's third novel, published in 1983. This book was written out of a desire to approach the problem of "artificial" (other-made) country divisions, their residents' complicity, and the problems of post-colonialism, when Pakistan was created to separate the Muslims from the Hindus, when England gave up control of "India"...
The book was written in the style of magic realism. It portrays the lives of Iskander Harappa (sometimes assumed to be Zulfikar Ali Bhutto), and General Raza Hyder (sometimes assumed to be General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq), and their relationship. The central theme of the novel is that begetting "shame" begets violence. The concepts of 'shame' and 'shamelessness' are explored through all of the characters, with main focus on Sufiya Zinobia and Omar Khayyám.
Shame discusses the sense of heritage, lineage, and their relationship to a personal sense of "autheticity", deriding all as rather obtruse and confused, if not without deep feelings. Central to the novel is women's relationship to "motherhood" and identity, aside from whether or not a man was a father to the child, disrupting all sense of "truth". Shame and shamelessness are central themes, and come to head in a woman so "mad with untruths" she starts incontrollably pulling the heads off chickens... a central food source. Rushdie wrote Shame after his second novel Midnight's Children.
- Omar Khayyám Shakil – The main character of the story who is raised by Chunni, Munnee, and Bunny.
- Chunni, Munnee, and Bunny Shakil – Mothers of Omar Khayyám who were pregnant simultaneously.
- Babar Shakil – The second son of Chunni, Munnee, and Bunny Shakil.
Hyder family members
- Raza Hyder – A military man who marries Bilquis as a Captain and is eventually promoted to General. He is also the murderer of Babar Shakil.
- Bilquìs Hyder – Wife of Raza Hyder and mother of Sufiya Zinobia and Naveed Hyder.
- Sufiya Zinobia Hyder – Daughter of Raza and Bilquìs Hyder. Born with developmental issues. Embodies shame.
- Naveed Hyder – Younger sister of Sufiya Zinobia Hyder who is promised to Haroun Harappa but marries Captain Talvar Ulhaq.
Harappa family members
- Iskander Harappa – Politician and "playboy" who is married to Rani Harappa.
- Rani Harappa – Cousin of Raza Hyder and wife of Iskander Harappa.
- Arjumand Harappa – Daughter of Iskander and Rani.
- Haroun Harappa – The eldest son of Little Mir Hirappa, who is promised to wed Naveed Hyder.
- Atiyah "Pinkie" Aurangzeb – Widowed by President Marshall A. and has an affair with Iskander Harappa.
- Captain Talvar Ulhaq – Police captain and polo player who marries Naveed Hyder.
- Eduardo Rodriguez – A Dominican teacher who becomes the private tutor of Omar Khayyám Shakil. He also is foster father to a child, Omar has with Farah, Omar's childhood crush.
- Farah Zoroaster – Daughter of a customs officer. Has a child with Omar but is taken care of by Eduardo Rodriguez and is Omar Khayyám Shakil's childhood crush.
- Maulana Dawood – Mullah and political confidant of Raza Hyder.
This story takes place in a town called "Q" which is actually a fictitious version of Quetta, Pakistan. In Q, one of the three sisters (Chunni, Munnee, and Bunny Shakil) gives birth to Omar Khayyám Shakil, but they act as a unit of mothers, never revealing to anyone who is Omar's birth mother. In addition, Omar never learns who his father is. While growing up, Omar lives in purdah with his three mothers and yearns to join the world. As a birthday present, Omar Khayyám Shakil's "mothers" allow him to leave Q. He enrolls in a school and is convinced by his tutor (Eduardo Rodriguez) to become a doctor. Over time, he comes in contact with both Iskander Harappa and General Raza Hyder.
- Winner of the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (Best Foreign Book Prize).
- Shortlisted for the 1983 Booker Prize.
- The Persian translation received an award from an official jury appointed by a ministry of the Iranian Islamic government.
Rushdie, Salman. Shame. Vintage: London, 1995.
- PORTRAIT SALMAN RUSHDIE - Actualité Celebre - EVENE
- Daniel Pipes: The Rushdie Affair: The Novel, the Ayatollah, and the West (1990), p.49
- Bentley, Nick. "Salman Rushdie, Shame". In Contemporary British Fiction, 52-61. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008), 66-75. ISBN 978-0-7486-2420-1.
- Listen to Salman Rushdie discussing Shame with Tariq Ali - a British Library recording.