Salman Rushdie

"The country in this story is not Pakistan, or not quite. There are two countries, real and fictional, occupying the same space, or almost the same space. My story, my fictional country exist, like myself, at a slight angle to reality. I have found this off-centring to be necessary; but its value is, of course, open to debate. My view is that I am not writing only about Pakistan.

"I have not given the country a name. And Q. is not really Quetta at all. But I don't want to be precious about this: when I arrive at the big city, I shall call it Karachi. (23-24)

Compare the previous example of Rushdie's intrusive narration with this sideways allusion to history and non-history: "There's an apcrophyal story that Napier, after a sucessful campaign in what is now the south of Pakistan, sent back to England the guilt, one-word message, "Peccavi." I have Sind. I'm tempted to name my looking glass-Pakistan in honour of this bilingual (and fictional, because never really uttered) pun. Let it be Peccavistan" (92-93).


Salman Rushdie. Shame New York: Aventura/Vintage, 1984.

Last modified 18 May 2001