This book reminds me of Pynchon and Eggers (at least "A Heartbreaking Work...") and Foer ("Everything is Illuminated" in particular). All of these authors fill their works with this incredible and mildly absurd images that all get pieced together in a patchwork of storytelling that aligns itself with the narrative, creating a second, slightly non-linear story about the world around them. Coincidentally, I caught an interview with Rushdie in a recent issue of Time where talked very briefly about the book, saying he wanted to capture the crowded rush of urban India by packing the thing with multiple overlapping stories at all times. The method works perfectly. The whole thing feels as if the story is being told in real (and incredible hectic) time: both from the perspective of the narrator and from the perspective of the characters on the page.
Now all of this is for naught if the story is stupid and the images suck. Fortunately, they don't. The stories themselves are captivating, despite the fact that they are completely hazy. With so much happening at all times, the actual story being told is barely taking shape (and I'm about 20% through the book). The actual story has to be pieced together from the millions of little stories that are pushed together and completely collapsing in on themselves. As for the images, they are beautiful in every definition of the word. A doctor that inspects a patient through a sheet with a whole, returning again and again, inspecting one body part at a time, and falling in love with the whole through various sections. A man who hums in a range that covers jaw rattling lows to dog inspiring highs. A narrator slowly crumbling and falling to parts, desperately scrawling out his story and using a super-human nose to smell through past memories. The whole novel parades incredible image after incredible image, to the point where I couldn't care less about what is actually happening: I just want the next image to be painted for me.