Joseph Anton

Joseph Anton

[a Memoir]

Audiobook CD - 2012
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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.

Praise for Salman Rushdie
"In Salman Rushdie . . . India has produced a glittering novelist--one with startling imaginative and intellectual resources, a master of perpetual storytelling."-- The New Yorker
"Salman Rushdie has earned the right to be called one of our great storytellers."-- The Observer
"Our most exhilaratingly inventive prose stylist, a writer of breathtaking originality."-- Financial Times

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Random House Audio : Books on Tape, p2012.
ISBN: 9780449807811
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 22 sound discs (26 hr., 58 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Dastor, Sam


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Aug 06, 2017

While looking for reading/audio material I read this review, so based on that...It's bad enough I have to listen to some pompous fool proclaim his self-perceived brilliance, I simply cannot endure one from Rushkie. Besides that, I've seen him in interviews, so this is a definite miss regardless of his life story.

Jun 11, 2013

Mr. Rushdie is a talented, writer's writer, and boy how he wants you to know it! So much so, in fact, that this autobiography, with a very heavy emphasis on his living-under-threat-of-death fatwa years, sprawls across 22 fairly pompous CDs. I won't claim I didn't enjoy the gossipy insights into his life in semi-hiding, a veritable who's who of literary, political, and celebrity figures are paraded out, but I will also confess there were times I actually shouted at my car stereo, "oh, get on with it, Salman!".

Cdnbookworm Dec 15, 2012

This memoir was an eye-opening look at living under threat. Whether it is the actual fear from the threats by Muslim extremists, the restrictions placed on his movements by the police and security officials, the reaction of media, the public reaction or his own family member's reaction, we see the effects on Rushdie's life. Joseph Anton was the pseudonym he chose for the police to use for him during most of this time, initiated once they realized this was not a short term situation.
Salman Rushdie lays out his life before the reader, both good and bad, embarrassing and uplifting, to show that he is a person just like the rest of us. Being a writer meant that he was still able to work during this time, but his circumstances also limited in his work in terms of doing research, promoting his work, and dealing with publishers. He had a core group of friends and family that helped keep him going, supported him intellectually, emotionally, and through physical means like offering temporary homes.
During his time under security restrictions, the life of Joseph Anton, Rushdie had one marriage end, another begin and end, a son grow up, and another son born. It was years before he was allowed to return to the country of his birth, and his restrictions cost him a great deal both financially and emotionally.
With support, he found ways to deal with and work around these restrictions as he tried to lead as normal a life as he could under the circumstances. This memoir is revealing and open about his own feelings and reactions, with moments of sadness and humour. A joy to read.


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