[Joseph Anton] reminds us of [Rushdie's] fecund gift for language and his talent for explicating the psychological complexities of family and identity... [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.
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times
Joseph Anton is a splendid book, the finest new memoir to cross my desk in many a year. Some may complain that, at more than 600 pages, it is too long, but it never seemed so to me…To the contrary, the length of the book, and its wealth of quotidian detail, serve to draw the reader into the life that Rushdie was forced to lead, to make his isolation and fear palpable.
Jonathan Yardley - Washington Post
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
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.
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.
New York Times Book 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.
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