Joseph Anton: A Memoir

Salman Rushdie, Author
Salman Rushdie. Random House, $30 (646p) ISBN 978-0-8129-9278-6
Reviewed on: 09/24/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Open Ebook - 636 pages - 978-1-4481-5560-6
Hardcover - 636 pages - 978-0-307-40136-6
Compact Disc - 22 pages - 978-0-449-80783-5
Compact Disc - 22 pages - 978-0-449-80781-1
Ebook - 438 pages - 978-0-679-64388-3
Open Ebook - 672 pages - 978-0-307-40138-0
Paperback - 636 pages - 978-0-8129-8260-2
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-07729-4
Paperback - 656 pages - 978-0-307-40137-3
Paperback - 636 pages - 978-0-09-956344-0
Hardcover - 978-2-07-045359-7
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Hailed as a literary martyr and derided as a prima donna, Rushdie emerges as both inspiring and insufferable in this memoir of his life following the 1989 fatwa issued against him by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. The British-Indian novelist's third-person account of the firestorm surrounding The Satanic Verses is harrowing as he's hounded, under the pseudonym "Joseph Anton," and moved from one hiding place to another under constant police guard while Islamists everywhere call for his death, and the British government treats him as an undeserving troublemaker. (Bookstore bombings and murderous attacks on a publisher and translators, he notes, show how serious the threat was.) But once Rushdie regains his nerve, his fetters accommodate much jet-setting lionization as he travels the world, collects awards and ovations, and parties with glitterati at the Playboy Mansion. Rushdie mixes stirring defenses of free speech with piquant observations on the subculture of maniacal high-level security, ripostes to detractors and ex-wives—"when he mentioned a pre-nup, the conversation became a quarrel"—sex gossip and incessant name-dropping ("Willie Nelson was there! And Matthew Modine!"). There's preening self-dramatization by the celebrity author— but a persistent edge of real drama, and fear, makes Rushdie's story absorbing. (Sept.)
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