A master storyteller’s favorite memoirs.
Salman Rushdie is the revered author of several novels, including Midnight’s Children, winner of the Booker of Bookers, and The Satanic Verses. The latter’s publication precipitated the events described in Rushdie’s new memoir, Joseph Anton: his flight into hiding after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini proclaimed a fatwā requiring Rushdie’s execution in 1989. Reviewer Graeme Wood calls it a book that “rattles with the terror of the moment.” This week, Rushdie points us to three favorite memoirs. (It’s worthwhile to compare these picks to his previous fiction recommendations.)
By Gabriel García Márquez
“The highest praise one can give this memoir is that it’s the equal of his fictional masterpieces, as beautifully written and imagined as any novel; and his description of the visit to his childhood home in Aracataca — which he would re-invent as Macondo — stops the heart.”
By Mary Karr
“A book of tough, laconic beauty, both hard-boiled and lyrical, this is a landmark work of what is being called ‘the age of the memoir.’ Karr grows up in ‘one of the ten ugliest towns on the planet’ and yells and fights her way out of it. Unforgettable.”
By Dave Eggers
“This book is celebrated for its adventurous re-invention of the memoir form, with much post-modern trickery: the ‘staggering genius’ part of the title. But at its core, it’s a profoundly moving story of an older brother doing his best to raise his younger brother after both their parents die within a month of each other. This, the ‘heartbreaking work’ beneath the brilliance, is what endures.”