A Luminous Garden

Excerpt from The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie


"Little buds of flame spring up on the concrete, fuelled by the discarded heaps of possessions and dreams. There is a little, rotting pile of envy: it burns greenly in the night. The fires are every colour of the rainbow, and not all of them need fuel. He blows the little fire-flowers out of his horn and they dance upon the concrete, needing neither combustible materials nor roots. Here, a pink one! There, what would be nice?, I know: a silver rose. – And now the buds are blossoming into bushes, they are climbing like creepers up the towers, they reach out towards their neighbours, forming hedges of multicoloured flame. It is like watching a luminous garden, its growth accelerated many thousands of times, a garden blossoming, flourishing, becoming overgrown, tangled, becoming impenetrable, a garden of dense intertwined chimeras, rivalling in its own incandescent fashion the thornwood that sprang up around the palace of the sleeping beauty in another fairy-tale, long ago."