I noticed a button was missing on my shirt to-day, so I went to the mall for lunch so I could also get a new shirt. I got breadsticks and marinara sauce from Pat and Oscars and read more of the The Satanic Verses. After the interestingly abstract beginning, I'm finding the novel is starting to feel more like 1980s pop fiction. Howard Stern mentioned Salman Rushdie a couple weeks ago, saying that he'd never read Rushdie's work but admired the man for always managing to get hot chicks, despite the fact that Rushdie's a fat old man. My mind has kind of correlated this with the fact that the novel's so far focused on a couple of handsome, vulnerable men getting schooled by strong, beautiful women in pretty sex scenes. And then there was this;
The passengers were held on the hijacked aircraft for one hundred and eleven days, marooned on a shimmering runway around which there crashed the great sand-waves of the desert, because once the four hijackers, three men one woman, had forced the pilot to land nobody could make up their minds what to do with them . . . there was something posturing in the beauty of the three men, some amateurish love of risk and death in them that made them appear frequently at the open doors of the airplane and flaunt their bodies at the professional snipers who must have been hiding amid the palm-trees of the oasis. The woman held herself aloof from such silliness and seemed to be restraining herself from scolding her three colleagues. She seemed insensible to her own beauty, which made her the most dangerous of the four. It struck Saladin Chamcha that the young men were too squeamish, too narcissistic, to want blood on their hands. They would find it difficult to kill; they were here to be on television. But Tavleen [the female hijacker] was here on business. He kept his eyes on her. The men do not know, he thought. They want to behave the way they have seen hijackers behaving in the movies and on TV; they are reality aping a crude image of itself, they are worms swallowing their tails. But she, the woman, knows . . .
This follows a scene where Saladin's imposing mistress had collaborated with his father in humiliating him as his father brought out a servant woman dressed as and pretending to be Saladin's dead mother. I'm not quite sure how much of this is Rushdie's own preoccupations with women or something he's trying to say about Islam's perspective on women. It's kind of fascinating, though maybe a bit silly. In any case, the book's a lot more about sex than I expected it to be.