Rushdie is having a great deal of fun here, bit the problem is I suspect he had more fun writing it than I did reading it. Of course, Rushdie's a wonderful writer -- one can hardly dispute that -- but this is not the most wonderful of books, no matter how dazzling and lush and sense-drunk it is. The plot is spectacularly convoluted and I admit to not being able to follow all of it. I was often lost, wondering who the hell this character was and what name they were going by now, for certainly names do get changed a lot here. It's magical and poetic, and depicts times and places that probably never really existed outside fairy tales and opera stages, which is fine, but Rushdie seems SO pleased with himself at every turn of succulent phrase, that it felt more self-indulgent than truly wondrous. At this point in his career, Rushdie can perhaps be excused a little frolic for his own pleasure and certainly if you find yourself lolling about on silk cushions on a warm afternoon wishing to be lulled into an opium-like dream, there are worse choices for the reader.