Shalimar the Clown

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Shalimar the Clown is the story of Maximilian Ophuls, America’s counterterrorism chief, one of the makers of the modern world; his Kashmiri Muslim driver and subsequent killer, a mysterious figure who calls himself Shalimar the clown; Max’s illegitimate daughter India; and a woman who links them, whose revelation finally explains them all.

It is an epic narrative that moves from California to Kashmir, France, and England, and back to California again. Along the way there are tales of princesses lured from their homes by demons, legends of kings forced to defend their kingdoms against evil. And there is always love, gained and lost, uncommonly beautiful and mortally dangerous.


Chapter 1

At twenty-four the ambassador’s daughter slept badly through the warm, unsurprising nights. She woke up frequently and even when sleep did come her body was rarely at rest, thrashing and flailing as if trying to break free of dreadful invisible manacles. At times she cried out in a...
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1. What most captivated your interest or emotions in Shalimar the Clown?

2. Discuss the importance of the most interesting (to you) of the following themes in Shalimar the Clown: love / sex / revenge / prophecy / voices / history / humour.

3. “Everywhere was now a part of everywhere else...

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"A sprawling tale of love and politics.... A daring aesthetic and political balancing act that traffics in many of the major concerns of post-colonial literature, but always within an evolving and bravely empathetic story.... One of Rushdie's best, and an important and rewarding must-read." National Post

"Read Shalimar the Clown for the effervescent fun factor that is always present in Rushdie's work...and for its devastating portrait of the destruction of Kashmir."
The Globe and Mail

"Shalimar the Clown is that rare highwire act, a literary thriller. It seems a vigorous rebutal to the recent dismissal of fiction by V. S. Naipaul, to the effect that 'if you write a novel... it's of no account.' " Financial Times (UK)