ISBN # 0679420495 is actually an oversized large softcover, not hardcover.
Very imaginative, as one would expect from Rushdie. I enjoyed the wit in the storytelling.
The stunning quality of the writing in this book actually improves as the story progresses. Narrated by Moraes "Moor" Zogoiby, he recounts the long, sordid, corrupt, and fascinating history of his familial dynasty of spice merchants turned crime lords. Like "The Cairo Trilogy" by Naguib Mafouz and "100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, you get to marinate in a rich culture and soak up some history. The actual story of the family features what is so addictive about soap operas: characters that are too interestingly flawed and fabulous you can't help but be curious about what will happen next, wacky-to-outrageous occurrences, and Rushdie's impeccable ear for dialogue (you best "buttofy" out of someone's business or, if you're really cheeky, worry about how to "stoppo my husband from breakofying your neck".)
Irreverent, brilliant writing. Rushdie laces historical events, improbable characters and outrageous events in a complex tale of human triumph and tragedy.