Joseph Anton: A Memoir
by Salman Rushdie
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group (20120918)
Controversial Mumbai-born writer Salman Rushdie‘s new book Joseph Anton: A Memoir is an autobiographical account of what happened before, during, and after the infamous fatwa that was put on his life. (According to the Ayatollah Khomeini, Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses was blasphemous, “against Islam, the Prophet and the Quran.”)
The book’s title refers to the pseudonym Rushdie used while in hiding
The book, published by Jonathan Cape, will be released on 18 September, and a BBC documentary on his ordeal at the time will be telecast the next day, according to The Sunday Times
This week’s New Yorker features a lengthy excerpt from the new book:
1989Afterward, when the world was exploding around him, he felt annoyed with himself for having forgotten the name of the BBC reporter who told him that his old life was over and a new, darker existence was about to begin. She called him at home, on his private line, without explaining how she got the number. “How does it feel,” she asked him, “to know that you have just been sentenced to death by Ayatollah Khomeini?” It was a sunny Tuesday in London, but the question shut out the light. This is what he said, without really knowing what he was saying: “It doesn’t feel good.” This is what he thought: I’m a dead man. He wondered how many days he had left, and guessed that the answer was probably a single-digit number. He hung up the telephone and ran down the stairs from his workroom, at the top of the narrow Islington row house where he lived. The living-room windows had wooden shutters and, absurdly, he closed and barred them. Then he locked the front door.…He was a new self now. He was the person in the eye of the storm, no longer the Salmanhis friends knew but the Rushdie who was the author of “Satanic Verses,” a title that had been subtly distorted by the omission of the initial “The.” “The Satanic Verses” was a novel. “Satanic Verses” were verses that were satanic, and he was their satanic author. How easy it was to erase a man’s past and to construct a new version of him, an overwhelming version, against which it seemed impossible to fight.
Interesting to see the story written in third person.
Anyway, I can’t wait to read this. You want to see the miserable depths religious fanatics will go to when their beliefs are criticized? Look no further than this. Rushdie experienced it all, against his will.
Twenty years ago, novelist Salman Rushdie was a wanted man with a million pound bounty on his head. His novel, The Satanic Verses, had sparked riots across the Muslim world. The ailing religious leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini, had invoked a little-known religious opinion - a fatwa - and effectively sentenced Rushdie to death. Never before had a novel created an international diplomatic crisis on such a scale, and never before had a foreign Government publicly called for the killing of a private citizen of another country.
This film looks back on the extraordinary events which followed the publication of the book and the ten year campaign to get the fatwa lifted. Interviews with Rushdie's friends and family and testimony from leaders of Britain's Muslim community and the Government reveal the inside story of the affair. Rushdie himself was forced into hiding for nearly ten years.