In my study of Salman Rushdie's first four novels my point of departure has been their conflicting reception. The novels have been understood as either unequivocally hostile to Islam or undoubtedly ambiguous. I have chosen to take a position in between and read the novels as the author's performatives, his speech acts, consisting of the author's construction of genre, theme and configuration. The categories help to explain the controversial political and religious themes.
On the level of genre the postcolonial, metafictive and satirical strategies create multivocality. On the level of configuration and theme a strong mythical pattern with alchemical colouring directs the comprecension towards an appreciation of cultural eclecticism and hybridity.
[Unending Metamorphoses: Myth, Satire and Religion in Salman Rushdie's Novels (Lund: Lund University Press, 1996) can be obtained from its Swedish publisher or from Chartwell-Bratt Ltd., Old Orchard, Bickley Road, Bromley, Kent BR1 2NE, England.]
A Selection of passages from this critical study