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Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie

Joseph Anton

by Salman Rushdie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,0142813,865 (3.73)82
On February 14, 1989, Salman Rushdie received a call from a journalist informing him that he had been "sentenced to death" by the Ayatollah Khomeini. It was the first time Rushdie heard the word fatwa. His crime? Writing a novel, The Satanic Verses, which was accused of being "against Islam, the Prophet, and the Quran." So begins the extraordinary story of how a writer was forced underground for more than nine years, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team. Asked to choose an alias that the police could use, he thought of combinations of the names of writers he loved: Conrad and Chekhov: Joseph Anton. How do a writer and his family live with the threat of murder for over nine years? How does he go on working? How does despair shape his thoughts and actions, and how does he learn to fight back? In this memoir, Rushdie tells for the first time the story of his crucial battle for freedom of speech. He shares the sometimes grim, sometimes comic realities of living with armed policemen, and the close bonds he formed with his protectors; of his struggle for support and understanding from governments, intelligence chiefs, publishers, journalists, and fellow writers; and of how he regained his freedom. What happened to Salman Rushdie was the first act of a drama that is still unfolding.--From publisher description.… (more)
  1. 00
    Assassins of the Turquoise Palace by Roya Hakakian (srdr)
    srdr: This is another exploration of the effect a fatwa has on the lives of those named and those who love them.

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» See also 82 mentions

English (25)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Self-regarding, self serving, gossipy and delicious. I can even forgive the name dropping and writing about himself in the third person, because he's just bloody good. And funny. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
Only good enough to make me want to read his fiction. As a person, Rushdie seems unlikable enough, but if this hadn’t been an audiobook, there’s no way I would have gotten through it. ( )
  jscape2000 | Feb 27, 2019 |
I have only read one book by Rushdie, thus far - The Enchantress of Florence. I loved that book with all it's flaws. Rushdie can be a rambling writer. The same can be said about this one. Sure it needed to be edited better. The worst part of the book is the third person affectation. But it was anything but boring. I finished this book in less than a week. Whatever it's flaws, he is a compelling and engrossing writer.

True, I could have done with wit less information about his marital woes. Sure, sometimes it reads like a gossip column in what Rushdie likes to call the Daily Insult. But the name dropping anecdotes do provide insight into how different people react in difficult situations; how the world divides between those with courage and heart and those who are willing to go along out of cowardice or coldness. Rushdie's detailed story about his personal experiences gives insight into and a voice to the lives of millions who across time and space have been at the wrong end of totalitarian hatreds. Rushdie is the first to admit that money and fame allowed him far more comforts than other victims. No one can deny he has the right to defend himself against his critics. Yet he is honest enough to expose his own flaws and let his readers judge for themselves who Rushdie really is: a flawed but generous man with a big heart and a matching ego, caught up in an undeserved nightmare caused by the evil thoughts of diseased minds -- a nightmare that unwittingly made him the canary in the coal mine. ( )
1 vote aront | Jul 25, 2017 |
Loved the first third of the book which was a gripping memoir, but lost interest as it became an account of the politics of the story. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie is his memoir, mostly of the ten plus years when he was hiding to avoid the fatwa that called for his murder. I can appreciate how trying and frightful and disturbing and disorienting such a situation can be. But none the less I found it tedious living with him through these years. He is a man who sucked up a lot of the oxygen in any room and that can annoy me. I stayed with the book till the end but i often thought of abandoning it. I think he was cavalier about his relationship with women and none of the marriages worked out though he did produce two sons from the first two wives. I would say read this book at your own risk. ( )
1 vote SigmundFraud | May 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Mr. Rushdie has written a memoir that chronicles those years in hiding — a memoir, coming after several disappointing novels, that reminds us of his fecund gift for language and his talent for explicating the psychological complexities of family and identity. Although this volume can be long-winded and self-important at times, it is also a harrowing, deeply felt and revealing document: an autobiographical mirror of the big, philosophical preoccupations that have animated Mr. Rushdie’s work throughout his career, from the collision of the private and the political in today’s interconnected world to the permeable boundaries between life and art, reality and the imagination.

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rushdie, Salmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Häilä, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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And by that destiny to perform an act / Whereof what's past is prologue, what to come / In yours and my discharge. - William Shakespeare, The Tempest
To my children Zafar and Milan and their mothers Clarissa and Elizabeth and to everyone who helped
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Afterwards, when the world was exploding around him and the lethal blackbirds were massing on the climbing frame in the school playground, he felt annoyed with himself for forgetting the name of the BBC reporter, a woman, who had told him that his old life was over and a new, darker existence was about to begin.
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Haiku summary
Fatwa is no fun
When on the receiving end
The mullahs are mad

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