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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Joseph Anton

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Joseph Anton Cover

ISBN13: 9780812992786
ISBN10: 0812992784
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On February 14, 1989, Valentine’s Day, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told that he had been “sentenced to death” by the Ayatollah Khomeini. For the first time he heard the word fatwa. His crime? To have written a novel called 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, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team. He was asked to choose an alias that the police could call him by. He thought of writers he loved and combinations of their names; then it came to him: Conrad and Chekhov — Joseph Anton.

How do a writer and his family live with the threat of murder for more than nine years? How does he go on working? How does he fall in and out of love? How does despair shape his thoughts and actions, how and why does he stumble, how does he learn to fight back? In this remarkable memoir Rushdie tells that story for the first time; the story of one of the crucial battles, in our time, for freedom of speech. He talks about the sometimes grim, sometimes comic realities of living with armed policemen, and of 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.

It is a book of exceptional frankness and honesty, compelling, provocative, moving, and of vital importance. Because what happened to Salman Rushdie was the first act of a drama that is still unfolding somewhere in the world every day.

Review:

"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.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Rushdie's ideas — about society, about culture, about politics — are embedded in his stories and in the interlocking momentum with which he tells them....All of Rushdie's synthesizing energy, the way he brings together ancient myth and old story, contemporary incident and archetypal emotion, transfigures reason into a waking dream." Los Angeles Times Book Review

Review:

"Everywhere [Rushdie] takes us there is both love and war, in strange and terrifying combinations, painted in swaying, swirling, world-eating prose that annihilates the borders between East and West, love and hate, private lives and the history they make." Time

Review:

"Swift in Gulliver's Travels, Voltaire in Candide, Sterne in Tristram Shandy...Salman Rushdie, it seems to me, is very much a latter-day member of their company." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Joseph Anton is a splendid book, the finest new memoir to cross my desk in many a year." Jonathan Yardley, the Washington Post

Review:

"Thoughtful and astute....This is an important book not only because of what it has to say about a man of principle who, under the threat of violence and death, stood firm for freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but also because of its implications about our times and fanatical religious intolerance in a frighteningly fragile world." USA Today (starred review)

Review:

"Compelling, affecting....Joseph Anton demonstrates Mr. Rushdie's ability as a stylist and storyteller....[He] reacted with great bravery and even heroism." The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"Joseph Anton beautifully modulates between such moments of accidental hilarity and the higher purpose Rushdie saw in opposing — at all costs — any curtailment on a writer's freedom to say what he or she wants." The Boston Globe

About the Author

Salman Rushdie is the author of eleven novels — Grimus, Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, The Enchantress of Florence, and Luka and the Fire of Life — and one collection of short stories: East, West. He has also published three works of nonfiction: The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981–1991, and Step Across This Line, and coedited two anthologies, Mirrorwork and Best American Short Stories 2008. He is a former president of American PEN.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

DagoLA319, January 9, 2013 (view all comments by DagoLA319)
Everything about this book fascinated me: Rushdie's unimaginable life under fatwa; his extended riffs on the importance of stories and our ability to change them; the autobiographical glimpses into his life, and how they're mirrored in his fiction; and of course that language. He's drunk on words and it's a pleasure. He's been criticized for taking shots at his exes, but he's admirably difficult on himself, as well, giving the picture of a real person. Considering the political influence evangelical Christians and the Tea Party have, Rushdie's story--thirtysome years old--couldn't be more timely. Should be required reading for anyone who loves books, stories, and freedom of expression.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Jean Clarkin, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Jean Clarkin)
An adventure story. A political thriller. A compendium of deep thought about freedom and morality, politics and religion, parenthood and death. A resource of opinions on writers and writing. This memoir by Salman Rushdie has it all.

I hadn't really paid much attention to Rushdie's career since the fatwa was cancelled, but during the time when his life was being threatened, I followed the news pretty closely - but of course, one never knows the full extent of the threats, the background day-to-day happenings during such a time of crisis. Joseph Anton is the pseudonym Rushdie adopted while under the protection of Scotland Yard's finest. It was a name he thought he could live with until the matter was cleared up, not realizing that it would be a ten-year struggle.

In the memoir, master story teller Rushdie weaves the distant past with the recent past and the present. He explicates the impact of the fatwa on his family, his friends, and his fans; on his work, his struggles to be published, his travels. He discusses at length the courage and kindness of his minders, his friends and his acquaintances. He gratefully marvels at the closed mouth British public, who kept his whereabouts and other personal details secret; he rails at some of the media figures who stirred up trouble and exacerbated the tensions between his minders and the British Islamic community.

This story is not a white-wash, Rushdie points out his own blind-spots, bad decisions, hurtful behaviors. He is unforgivingly candid about his own flaws, (almost) completely forgiving of the flaws of his supporters and friends, and acerbically caustic about the prevarications of governments. I came away from this memoir with an admiration for Rushdie, and with gratitude for his willingness to defend his (and our) rights to think and write anything we wish without censorship, without threats, without death.

On a practical note, I also came away from Joseph Anton with a terrifically good to-be-read list derived from Rushdie's wide ranging tastes in world literature.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Marina Antropow Cramer, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Marina Antropow Cramer)
As honest an account of the fatwa years as we are likely to get. Told in Rushdie's wry, sophisticated style, this is an erudite, unsparing memoir by one of our most distinguished living writers.
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View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780812992786
Subtitle:
A Memoir
Author:
Rushdie, Salman
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20120931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
656
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.5 x 1.5 in 2.3 lb

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Joseph Anton Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 656 pages Random House - English 9780812992786 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Rushdie's ideas — about society, about culture, about politics — are embedded in his stories and in the interlocking momentum with which he tells them....All of Rushdie's synthesizing energy, the way he brings together ancient myth and old story, contemporary incident and archetypal emotion, transfigures reason into a waking dream."
"Review" by , "Everywhere [Rushdie] takes us there is both love and war, in strange and terrifying combinations, painted in swaying, swirling, world-eating prose that annihilates the borders between East and West, love and hate, private lives and the history they make."
"Review" by , "Swift in Gulliver's Travels, Voltaire in Candide, Sterne in Tristram Shandy...Salman Rushdie, it seems to me, is very much a latter-day member of their company."
"Review" by , "Joseph Anton is a splendid book, the finest new memoir to cross my desk in many a year."
"Review" by , "Thoughtful and astute....This is an important book not only because of what it has to say about a man of principle who, under the threat of violence and death, stood firm for freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but also because of its implications about our times and fanatical religious intolerance in a frighteningly fragile world."
"Review" by , "Compelling, affecting....Joseph Anton demonstrates Mr. Rushdie's ability as a stylist and storyteller....[He] reacted with great bravery and even heroism."
"Review" by , "Joseph Anton beautifully modulates between such moments of accidental hilarity and the higher purpose Rushdie saw in opposing — at all costs — any curtailment on a writer's freedom to say what he or she wants."
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