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By: Todd Killick

Potomac Review intern, Todd Killick, takes on The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, and explores how his reading influences his writing.


I recently read The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. Most people are aware of the controversy surrounding this book, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Rushdie is an incredibly talented writer. His style of writing is very dense and full of exotic imagery. While the book does contain a narrative, at points it becomes very dream-like, mixing reality with fantasy. There are essentially three main stories going through this book, and each ends in a very strange and vivid way.

For example, near the end of the main storyline, a city is on fire. The description of it in the book almost makes you feel the heat. The way that it was written gave me a very distinct image of a burning city with strange supernatural qualities to it. There are demons in the flames and the fire itself takes on a certain odd personification. Being able to create wild, vivid images in another person’s mind is something that I think is vital to good writing.

With my own writing, I always try to create a new world in a reader’s mind and show them things that they wouldn’t have normally thought of. To me, that is the main purpose of writing. Good writing should plant a premise in your mind, and then doing something you wouldn’t expect with that premise. The Satanic Verses is a good example of how you can take things that are seemingly realistic and imbue them with odd supernatural qualities. Being able to create realistic worlds with your writing helps to draw the reader in more, and makes the story a more enriching experience.

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