Monday, December 3, 2012

Salman Rushdie's JOSEPH ANTON

This memoir, which covers essentially the 10 or so years that Rushdie was under threat of death from a Muslim fatwa, is almost painfully honest.  I'm not sure Rushdie is someone I would want to know, but I loved his memoir.  The everyday details of how he had to live, the emotions he felt (even the petty stuff), his personal & professional relationships, struggles to continue writing good fiction -- it's all there. 

The book IS written in the third person which causes some minor hiccups.  When Rushdie switches from "he" meaning some other person to "he" meaning himself, it is not always clear.  Towards the end of the book he begins to refer to himself as "Mr. Anton," and this helps a lot.

The four wives (yes, FOUR!) are offputting, no question.  But how that all transpired is just part of who Rushdie is as a person.  Great writers are not necessarily great people. 

Although 600+ pages long, the book was an easy and quick read.

There is a far more detailed (and far better) review by Zoe Heller at the New York Review of Books website

EDITED 2/19/13 TO ADD: I have since read Rushdie's "The Enchantress of Florence and absolutely hated it. Gave it a mere one star on Goodreads (I am ritamarie949 on Goodreads, just as on Twitter)and attempted in the review to figure out what exactly about it didn't work for me. Perhaps it was simply too macho for this extremely devout feminist.