Salman Rushdie: Sentenced to Death

William J. Weatherby, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $19.95 (258p) ISBN 978-0-88184-572-3
Unlike The Rushdie File by Lisa Appignanesi and Sara Maitland (Syracuse Univ.), which is a ``book of record,'' and Daniel Pipes's The Rushdie Affair (Birch Lane), a semischolarly study of the worldwide repercussions of the publication of The Satanic Verses , the book in hand is a sympathetic journalistic account of the writer's life, the ``making'' of the novel and the subsequent controversy. For this readable but badly edited portrait, Weatherby, U.S. correspondent for the London Guardian , biographer ( James Baldwin ) and novelist, interviewed many of the participants and has made facile use of scissors, paste, a large collection of cliches and an acquaintance with Rushdie and the writings of E. M. Forster and Dostoyevski. There is a good deal more material here than in the two competing books, covering the literary and publishing worlds, Rushdie's wives, friends and agents, as well as numerous quotations from book reviews and comments by Roald Dahl, John le Carre and other writers. On balance, if one wants to be better informed about Rushdie and his troubles, this is probably the book to read. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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