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Victory City by Salman Rushdie • Episode #142

Victory City by Salman Rushdie is the subject of this book club episode. Victory City has been hailed by fellow author Hari Kunzru as ‘Salman Rushdie at his most virtuosic, a wondrous tale of medieval India which is also, as ever, a fable about the triumph of life – in all its joyous messy excellence – over the forces of fanaticism and darkness.’

‘In the wake of an insignificant battle between two long-forgotten kingdoms in fourteenth-century southern India, a nine-year-old girl has a divine encounter that will change the course of history. After witnessing the death of her mother, the grief-stricken Pampa Kampana becomes a vessel for a goddess, who tells her that she will be instrumental in the rise of a great city called Bisnaga – literally ‘victory city’ – the wonder of the world.

Over the next two hundred and fifty years, Pampa Kampana’s life becomes deeply interwoven with Bisnaga’s as she attempts to make good on the task that the goddess set for her: to give women equal agency in a patriarchal world. But all stories have a way of getting away from their creator, and as years pass, rulers come and go, battles are won and lost, and allegiances shift, Bisnaga is no exception.’

That writers revere Rushdie makes perfect sense, but how do everyday readers feel about it? Laura’s book club put it to the test. Our friend and pod regular, journalist Philip Chaffee is here to report back, along with first-time guest, avid reader and keen book-clubber Charlie Chichester. Listen in for our full and frank discussion, plus we’ve also got follow-on recommendations from Umberto Eco’s Bardolino to William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. And keep listening to find out the books we’ve currently got on the go.

No plot spoilers if you haven’t read it yet. Listen in and decide if it’s going to be for you.

Book list

Baudolino by Umberto Eco

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

How Westminster Works and Why it Doesn’t by Ian Dunt

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Revolutionary Spring by Christopher Clark

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley

Listen here or in your favourite podcast app by clicking on this podfollow link.

If you enjoyed listening to this, why not try our episode on Like a Sword Wound by Ahmet Altan, another book from a novelist at the height of his powers.

Transcript of Victory City episode

[coming soon]

Comments on Victory City episode

Have you read Victory City? What’s your favourite Rushdie novel? Let us know.


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