Joseph Anton

Joseph Anton

4.0 25
by Salman Rushdie
     
 

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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
San Francisco Chronicle • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • The Seattle Times • The Economist • Kansas City Star • BookPage

On February 14, 1989, Valentine’s Day, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told that he had been “sentenced…  See more details below

Overview

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
San Francisco Chronicle • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • The Seattle Times • The Economist • Kansas City Star • BookPage

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 Joseph Anton
 
“A harrowing, deeply felt and revealing document: an autobiographical mirror of the big, philosophical preoccupations that have animated Mr. Rushdie’s work throughout his career.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
“A splendid book, the finest . . . memoir to cross my desk in many a year.”—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
 
“Thoughtful and astute . . . an important book.”—USA Today
 
“Compelling, affecting . . . demonstrates Mr. Rushdie’s ability as a stylist and storytelle. . . . [He] reacted with great bravery and even heroism.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Gripping, moving and entertaining . . . nothing like it has ever been written.”—The Independent (UK)
 
“A thriller, an epic, a political essay, a love story, an ode to liberty.”—Le Point (France)
 
“Action-packed . . . in a literary class by itself . . . Like Isherwood, Rushdie’s eye is a camera lens —firmly placed in one perspective and never out of focus.”—Los Angeles Review of Books
 
“Unflinchingly honest . . . an engrossing, exciting, revealing and often shocking book.”de Volkskrant (The Netherlands)
 
“One of the best memoirs you may ever read.”DNA (India)
 
“Extraordinary . . . Joseph Anton beautifully modulates between . . . moments of accidental hilarity, and the higher purpose Rushdie saw in opposing—at all costs—any curtailment on a writer’s freedom.”The Boston Globe

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Editorial Reviews

The name in the title was created originally to befuddle. In February 1989, Salman Rushdie receives word that he had been sentenced to death by Ayatollah Khomeini. Forced to go underground, he created a portmanteau alias that conjoined the first names of two favorite authors (Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov). For more than nine years, he and his family lived in hiding, moving from place to place, guarded by an ever-present contingent of armed policemen. During that time, his marriage dissolved and his life changed drastically in most other ways as well. Joseph Anton: A Memoir recounts a stormy period lived in enforced isolation. Definitely more mesmerizing than Satanic Verses. Now in trade paperback and NOOK Book.

The Washington Post
Joseph Anton is a splendid book, the finest new memoir to cross my desk in many a year. Some may complain that, at more than 600 pages, it is too long, but it never seemed so to me…To the contrary, the length of the book, and its wealth of quotidian detail, serve to draw the reader into the life that Rushdie was forced to lead, to make his isolation and fear palpable.
—Jonathan Yardley
The New York Times
…reminds us of [Rushdie's] fecund gift for language and his talent for explicating the psychological complexities of family and identity…a harrowing, deeply felt and revealing document: an autobiographical mirror of the big, philosophical preoccupations that have animated Mr. Rushdie's work throughout his career, from the collision of the private and the political in today's interconnected world to the permeable boundaries between life and art, reality and the imagination.
—Michiko Kakutani
From the Publisher
“A harrowing, deeply felt and revealing document: an autobiographical mirror of the big, philosophical preoccupations that have animated Mr. Rushdie’s work throughout his career.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
“A splendid book, the finest . . . memoir to cross my desk in many a year.”—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
 
“Thoughtful and astute . . . an important book.”—USA Today
 
“Compelling, affecting . . . demonstrates Mr. Rushdie’s ability as a stylist and storytelle. . . . [He] reacted with great bravery and even heroism.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Gripping, moving and entertaining . . . nothing like it has ever been written.”—The Independent (UK)
 
“A thriller, an epic, a political essay, a love story, an ode to liberty.”—Le Point (France)
 
“Action-packed . . . in a literary class by itself . . . Like Isherwood, Rushdie’s eye is a camera lens —firmly placed in one perspective and never out of focus.”—Los Angeles Review of Books
 
“Unflinchingly honest . . . an engrossing, exciting, revealing and often shocking book.”de Volkskrant (The Netherlands)
 
“One of the best memoirs you may ever read.”DNA (India)
 
“Extraordinary . . . Joseph Anton beautifully modulates between . . . moments of accidental hilarity, and the higher purpose Rushdie saw in opposing—at all costs—any curtailment on a writer’s freedom.”The Boston Globe

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679643883
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/18/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
656
Sales rank:
435,379
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Salman Rushdie is the author of eleven novels—Grimus, Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, The Enchantress of Florence, and Luka and the Fire of Life—and one collection of short stories: East, West. He has also published three works of nonfiction: The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981–1991, and Step Across This Line, and coedited two anthologies, Mirrorwork and Best American Short Stories 2008. He is a former president of American PEN.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
June 19, 1947
Place of Birth:
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Education:
M.A. in History, King's College, University of Cambridge

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Joseph Anton: A Memoir 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Isles More than 1 year ago
Moments ago, I turned the last page of Salman Rushdie's memoir, Joseph Anton. I started it around September 20th and it took me until December 17th, to finish (investing, on average, about an hour-and-a-half of reading per day). Some will consider this a long book (656 pages), but at no point in my journey did it seem overwritten or garrulous. Some memoirs tend to indulge in dull personal matters or mundane reminiscences, but not this one (Martin Amis wrote a particularly boring memoir that I found hard to finish; it turned out to be an 'experience' I could have done without). By the very nature of his circumstances, Rushdie's is a harrowing and riveting tale, and this made it all the more exciting to read. Please ignore the low-starred reviewers below; I doubt they have the ability to read any long book. Most people also seem to forget the purpose of a memoir when they describe its author as name-dropping, self-aggrandizing solipsists. In a memoir, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO NAME NAMES. I want to know about Rushdie's literary friends, the movie stars he dated (Meg Ryan), and the places he has been to. What else do you expect? It's a memoir! At no point did Rushdie sound overly self-serving or whiny. He went through absolute hell for more than ten years of his life, all for writing a book that was perceived to be an insult to a ghastly and tyrannical religion. I think he has a right to complain a bit about the way he was treated by both the extremists abroad and the feeble British government at home. Despite this, he gives great credit to his protectors, the members of A Squad, and to all those to reached out to help during these troubling times. But he also shines a bright light on the toadies who attempted to cast him as a despicable devil in this whole ordeal. The British Press, Cat Stevens, John le Carre, Penguin Group; all of their positions were given a fair review and presented so that the reader can reach his/her own conclusions about who was in the wrong. Rushdie does not shy away from his own personal failings, nor does he try to sugarcoat anything. He reveals his personal faults that led to the end of his four marriages, but he also presents his side of the story effectively. If you don't want to hear about personal stories, literary jet-set circles, or someone's opinions on various issues, than don't read their memoir. If you are looking to learn more about one of the greatest authors of the 20th and 21 centuries, than check out Joseph Anton.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This lengthy book varies from engrossing to tedious at times. Its message, that freedom of speech and writing is important and should be more important than fear of offending, is compelling.
scdoane More than 1 year ago
Having tried to read and understand "The Satanic Verses" I did not expect to finish "Joseph Anton" but was delighted to find Salman Rushdies memoir fascinating reading; and a trove of background information to help me to understand his writing. I will try "Verses" again from a new perspective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've seldom had time to read fiction, and so have yet to read any of Salman Rushdie's other work. Based on the beautiful writing in this book, I will get right to it. I was interested in his story because of the ordeal he lived through when he was under threat of death, and found his lessons about life valuable and inspiring. I am glad he survived, and grateful that he and his supportive friends work for freedom for writers around the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fascinating biography of the arduous ordeal Mr. Rushdie faced for too many years. What a struggle for freedom!!!
PierresFamily More than 1 year ago
Joseph Anton was the very moving and informative autobiography of Salman Rushdie. If you care about freedom of speech, religious freedom (or the right to have none at all) or history, you will enjoy this book. It's also a poignant reminder of the dangers of extremism, and is quite relevant for our own time. I learned a lot, and I was also reminded to appreciate every day and every freedom that we have in the U.S.
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An inspiring and at times reflective and indulgent memoir.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rushdie's book is too long by at least one third. Do we really need to read the guest list at every party he attended, especially since most of the folks he mentions are from England and hardly known in this country. Too much repetition about the security that helped him survive. Not enough information about his marriages, which is perhaps the only really interesting material in the book. It is also seriously marred by his use of the third person rather than the first person. This is a good book to skim so you can skip the considerable uninteresting portions. .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
500 + pages of whining. Book describes a shallow person who throws away wives & blames all his problems on others.