Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981-1991

Overview

Rushdie at his most candid, impassioned, and incisive--an important and moving record of one writer's intellectual and personal odyssey. These 75 essays demonstrate Rushdie's range and prophetic vision, as he focuses on his fellow writers, on films, and on the mine-strewn ground of race, politics and religion.
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Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991

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Overview

Rushdie at his most candid, impassioned, and incisive--an important and moving record of one writer's intellectual and personal odyssey. These 75 essays demonstrate Rushdie's range and prophetic vision, as he focuses on his fellow writers, on films, and on the mine-strewn ground of race, politics and religion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140140361
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/1992
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 816,824
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Salman Rushdie

Born in Bombay in 1947, Salman Rushdie is the author of six novels, including Grimus, Shame, The Satanic Verses, The Moor's Last Sigh, and The Ground Beneath Her Feet, and a volume of essays, Imaginary Homelands. His numerous literary prizes include the Booker Prize for Midnight's Children and the Whitbread Prize for The Satanic Verses.

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

Imaginary Homelands Introduction
1
Imaginary Homelands
"Errata": Or, Unreliable Narration in Midnight's Children
The Riddle of Midnight: India, August 1987

2
Censorship The Assassination of Indira Gandhi Dynasty Zia ul-Haq. 17 August 1988
Daughter of the East

3
"Commonwealth Literature" Does Not Exist Anita Desai Kipling
Hobson-Jobson

4
Outside the Whale Attenborough's Gandhi Satyajit Ray
Handsworth Songs
The Location of Brazil

5
The New Empire within Britain An Unimportant Fire
Home Front
V. S. Naipaul The Painter and the Pest

6
A General Election Charter 88
On Palestinian Identity: A Conversation with Edward Said

7
Nadine Gordimer Rian Malan Nuruddin Farah Kapuscinski's Angola

8
John Berger Graham Greene John le Carre On Adventure At the Adelaide Festival Travelling with Chatwin Chatwin's Travels Julian Barnes Kazuo Ishiguro

9
Michel Tournier Italo Calvino Stephen Hawking Andrei Sakharov Umberto Eco Gunter Grass Heinrich Boll Siegfried Lenz Peter Schneider Christoph Ransmayr Maurice Sendak and Wilhelm Grimm

10
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Mario Vargas Llosa

11
The Language of the Pack
Debrett Goes to Hollywood
E. L. Doctorow Michael Herr: An Interview Richard Ford Raymond Carver Isaac Bashevis Singer Philip Roth Saul Bellow Thomas Pynchon Kurt Vonnegut Grace Paley Travels with a Golden Ass
The Divine Supermarket

12
Naipaul Among the Believers
"In God We Trust"
In Good Faith Is Nothing Sacred?
One Thousand Days in a Balloon

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2002

    Read these essays before you judge Rushdie...

    I absolutely loved these essays by Salman Rushdie, especially the ones in which he deals with the politics of India and Pakistan (I especially loved the essay on Zia ul-Haq), and about racism. However, most importantly, I loved reading 'In Good Faith,' and 'One Thousand Days in a Balloon' because they dealt with The Satanic Verses, and Rushdie gave a beautiful defense for his great book. When I first started reading Rushdie, many of my friends and family memebers were shocked. 'Isn't he the man that spreads anti-Islamic propoganda?, etc.' I am glad that I kept an open mind, and actually read Shame, read The Satanic Verses, and read Imaginery Homelands, because then I would have never have learned that Mr. Rushdie is far from being a racist. He has spent most of his life standing up for minorities, and standing up for the rights of women. He is a man who truly cares for the fate of his people and his society, and indeed, the fate of humanity, and can articulate the position of the migrant beautifully. Though I am a Pakistani Muslim, I understood clearly that The Satanic Verses was by no means anti-Islamic propoganda, but was a novel about the sruggles of the immigrant, our dual personalaties, and about racism. Please read these essays, instead of judging Rushdie by false rumors. He is a favorite author of mine, and will always have a special place in my heart.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2008

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