Joseph Anton

Joseph Anton

A Memoir

eBook - 2012
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On February 14, 1986, Valentine's Day, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told that he had been "sentenced to death" by the Ayatollah Khomeini, a voice reaching across the world from Iran to kill him in his own country. 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, often harrowing story--filled too with surreal and funny moments--of how a writer was forced underground, moved from house to house, an armed police protection team living with him at all times for more than nine years. 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 . He became "Joe."

How do a writer and his young family live day by day with the threat of murder for so long? How do you go on working? How do you keep love and joy alive? How does despair shape your thoughts and actions, how and why do you stumble, how do you learn to fight for survival? In this remarkable memoir, Rushdie tells that story for the first time. 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; of friendships (literary and otherwise) and love; and of how he regained his freedom.

This is a book of exceptional frankness and honesty, compelling, moving, provocative, not only captivating as a revelatory memoir but of vital importance in its political insight and wisdom. Because it is also a story of today's battle for intellectual liberty; of why literature matters; and of a man's refusal to be silenced in the face of state-sponsored terrorism. And because we now know that what happened to Salman Rushdie was the first act of a drama that would rock the whole world on September 11th and is still unfolding somewhere every day.

Publisher: Toronto : Knopf Canada, 2012.
ISBN: 9780307401380
0307401383
Branch Call Number: ELECTRONIC RESOURCE
Characteristics: 1 online resource.

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athompson10 Jul 22, 2015

Wow. It's long and wordy in places, but Rushdie draws well the fear, boredom, frustration and claustrophobia experienced during the fatwa years. The book is replete with what makes Rushdie a great writer: thoughtfulness, beautiful use of words, penetrating and incisive insights, black comedy and some true cutting wit. He's pretty brutal in his treatment of Wives #2 and 4, both in the relationships and in print, but pretty brutal in his dissection of himself as well.

t
threeoutside
Jul 22, 2015

I am so glad Rushdie wrote this memoir of his years in hiding. All those years I (among millions no doubt) felt real sympathy for his predicament. The reality of living like that was way beyond anything I could have imagined. Some commenters have criticized his soft-pedaling of some of his own behavior. I'd like to see an autobiography or memoir that *doesn't* do that to some extent, and I think Rushdie was fairly honest compared to many. I love his non-fiction writing and this was a treat.

t
talktimereader
Aug 29, 2013

Complex, tediously detailed, thrillingly complete; you must read this for insight into the concept of personal freedom and freedom of expression.

Salman I am so glad you explained your character on screen in Bridget Jones.

a
anneelliot
Jun 13, 2013

Engaging tale of Rushdie's life, including the 9 years he spent under Special Branch protection and hiding from Iranian assassins because of a book he wrote. A testament to the importance of standing up for our freedom to think, speak and write independently and creatively, and in uniting against terrorism in any form. Rushdie is an excellent storyteller, portrays himself in the 3rd person (perhaps to get some distance?) which seems odd at first, and is at times unflinchingly honest in his self-portrait. He also seems to be settling some scores with those who made his years under the fatwa even more difficult, yet after having others who don't necessarily like, know, or understand you define who you are in the media, it's understandable that he'd want to have his say, at last. Most powerful are his words on the power of literature to help us find common ground with one another, even when we may disagree politically, religiously, artistically.

m
marticia
Nov 30, 2012

I want to cancel a hold on Joseph Anton. I'm asked if I really want to cancel. I do. Please help me cancel it.

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