|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 "authenticity", 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.
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.
Rushdie, Salman. Shame. Vintage: London, 1995.