East, West: Stories

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In this brilliant collection - his first major work of fiction since The Satanic Verses - one of the great writers in the world today gives us nine stories that together reveal the intricate intimacies and unbridgeable distances between the East and the West. A rickshaw driver dreams of being a Bombay movie star while, in a futuristic Western dystopia, legendary Hollywood icons acquire magic powers. Indian diplomats who as childhood friends hatched "Star Trek" fantasies must boldly go into a hidden universe of ...
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East, West: Stories

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Overview

In this brilliant collection - his first major work of fiction since The Satanic Verses - one of the great writers in the world today gives us nine stories that together reveal the intricate intimacies and unbridgeable distances between the East and the West. A rickshaw driver dreams of being a Bombay movie star while, in a futuristic Western dystopia, legendary Hollywood icons acquire magic powers. Indian diplomats who as childhood friends hatched "Star Trek" fantasies must boldly go into a hidden universe of conspiracy and violence; and Hamlet's jester, too, is caught up in murderous intrigues. In Rushdie's hybrid world, an Indian guru can be a red-headed Welshman, while Christopher Columbus is an immigrant, dreaming of Western glory. A young Pakistani woman faces a journey to England to meet the husband she does not know; an elderly Indian lady in London must choose between love and home. With profound sensitivity, Rushdie allows himself, like his characters, to be pulled now in one direction, now in another. Yet throughout this collection he remains, really, a writer who insists on our cultural complexity; who confidently rises beyond ideology, refusing to choose between East and West.

In his first major work of fiction since The Satanic Verses--and his first collection of stories--Salman Rushdie reveals the intricate intimacies and unabridgeable distances between the East and the West. Throughout this collection of nine stories of extraordinary range and power, Rushdie remains a writer who insists on our cultural complexity; who confidently rises beyond ideology, refusing to choose between the East and West.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rushdie's collection of nine highly postmodern stories probes the differences and connections between East and West, celebrating the hybrid nature of contemporary identity. (Jan.)
Robert Coover
. . .[a] sometimes poignant and intimate, sometimes boisterously inventive, sometimes gently provocative collection of short stories. . . .Mr. Rushdie, one suspects, would rather have his work discussed purely as literature, without reference to the unhappy history that has plagued him, but sometimes the stories themselves make it difficult to ignore the story of their author. -- The New York Times
From the Publisher
"One of the decade's great literary triumphs: magical, compassionate, wise, beautiful, and so very entertaining." —The Toronto Star

"Richly imaginative...The characters are memorable, the language swift, and the reader is touched by desire, friendship and love." —The Globe and Mail

"A pleasure to read...The stories in East, West have the careful precision of ivory miniatures. And all of them, beneath their infectiously playful surfaces ponder the imponderables of human fate." —Macleans's

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780224041348
  • Publisher: Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/1994
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.39 (w) x 7.72 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie's latest novel, The Moor's Last Sigh, was published by Knopf Canada in September 1995.

Biography

Born in Mumbai, India, and educated in the U.K., multi-award-winning novelist Salman Rushdie is considered one of the most important and influential writers of contemporary English-language fiction.

Rushdie freelanced for two London advertising firms before turning to a full-time writing career. He made his literary debut in 1975 with Grimus, a sci-fi fantasy that made a very small splash in publishing circles. However, he hit the jackpot with his second novel, Midnight's Children, an ambitious allegory that parallels the turbulent history of India before and after partition. Widely considered Rushdie's magnum opus, Midnight's Children was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981. (Twelve years later, a panel of judges named it the best overall novel to have won the Booker Prize since the award's inception in 1975; and in 2005, Time included it on a list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923.)

Undoubtedly, though, the book that put Rushdie squarely on the cultural radar screen was The Satanic Verses. Published in 1988 and partially inspired by the life of the prophet Muhammad, this erudite study of good and evil won the Whitbread Book Award, but achieved far more notoriety when Muslim fundamentalists condemned it for its blasphemous portrayal of Islam. The book was banned in many Muslim countries, a fatwa was issued by the Iranian Ayatollah, and a multimillion dollar bounty was placed on Rushdie's head. The novelist spent much of the 1990s in hiding, under the protection of the British government. (In 1998, Iran officially lifted the fatwa, but threats against Rushdie's life still reverberate throughout the Muslim world.)

Even without the controversy inspired by The Satanic Verses, Rushdie's literary fame would be assured. His novels comprise a unique body of work that draws from fantasy, mythology, religion, and magic realism, blending them all with staggering imagination and comic brilliance. He has created his own idiom, pushing the boundaries of language with dazzling wordplay and a widely admired "chutnification" of history. His books have won most major awards in Europe and the U.K. and have garnered praise from critics around the world. Britain's Financial Times called him "Our most exhilaratingly inventive prose stylist." Time magazine raved, "No novelist currently writing in English does so with more energy, intelligence and allusiveness than Rushdie." And the writer Christopher Hitchens lamented in the Progressive that were it not for the death threats against him, Rushdie would surely be a Nobel laureate by now.

In addition to his bestselling novels, Rushdie has also produced essays, criticism, and a book of children's fiction. In 2007, Rushdie was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. The citation reads: "Ahmed Salman Rushdie -- author, for services to literature."

Good To Know

Rushdie was short-listed for The Literary Review's Bad Sex Award in 1995 for The Moor's Last Sigh, which included such verses as "For ever they sweated pepper ‘n' spices sweat."

Rushdie participated in a two-day, U.S. State Department conference entitled "Why Do They Hate Us?" for 50 diplomats in the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001.

Rushdie's first novel was a literate sci-fi fantasy entitled Grimus. Although it made only a very small splash in publishing circles, the book was deemed outstanding enough to be selected by a panel of distinguished writers (including Brian Aldiss, Kingsley Amis, and Arthur C. Clarke) as the best science fiction novel of 1975. However, at the last minute, his publishers withdrew the book from consideration, fearing that, if he won, Rushdie would never be able to shake the label of "genre writer."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ahmed Salman Rushdie
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 19, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bombay, Maharashtra, India
    1. Education:
      M.A. in History, King's College, University of Cambridge

Table of Contents

Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies 3
The Free Radio 17
The Prophet's Hair 33
Yorick 61
At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers 85
Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain Consummate Their Relationship Santa Fe, AD 1492 105
The Harmony of the Spheres 123
Chekov and Zulu 147
The Courter 173
Acknowledgments 213
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