Step across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002

Step across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002

by Salman Rushdie
     
 

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From one of the great novelists of our day, a vital, brilliant new book of essays, speeches and articles essential for our times.

Step Across This Line showcases the other side of one of fiction's most astonishing conjurors.See more details below

Overview

From one of the great novelists of our day, a vital, brilliant new book of essays, speeches and articles essential for our times.

Step Across This Line showcases the other side of one of fiction's most astonishing conjurors.

Editorial Reviews

The Los Angeles Times
Rushdie is a historic figure because he has become, for the whole world to see, a rich, happy, admired and successful ex-Muslim. In his worldwide fame, Rushdie is undoubtedly the most prominent apostate in Muslim history. The longer he lives, the more he changes the sociology of apostasy within the religious community into which he was born. — Jack Miles
Publishers Weekly
Roughly one-fourth of these essays deals with the response of the media, various governments and Rushdie himself to what he calls the "unfunny Valentine" he received on February 14, 1989, from the Ayatollah Khomeini: the fatwa calling for his death. Everyone, it seems, had a script for Rushdie to follow, though none of these fantasies resembled the rather simple one the author fancied (and which seems to have been realized), which is that his problems gradually disappear and he be allowed to resume a more or less normal writerly life. To paraphrase an idea that appears in several of these essays, the problem is that frontiers cross us rather than the other way around: we are going about our business when our country is divided (as happened to Rushdie's native India in 1947) or we encounter a shocking work of art or our enemies declare they will kill us. Many respond to unnerving changes by embracing religion, but, says Rushdie, "ancient wisdoms are modern nonsenses"; in place of sectarian fervor, he recommends intellectual freedom, a simple concept yet a rigorous practice, as this book proves. These essays range over literature, politics and religion, as well as Rushdie's two private passions, rock music and soccer. They are united by a play of sparkling intelligence seasoned with sly wit, qualities that would serve the world at any time in its long, flawed history. After all, says Rushdie, the story he loved first and still loves best, perhaps the story of all humanity, is The Wizard of Oz, a fable that tells us the grown-up world doesn't really work, that adults can be good people and still be bad wizards. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Thanks to some Iranian ayatollahs, Rushdie is probably the most famous writer still alive. Although he remains under partial protection, he has continued to write since 1989, producing several novels and many articles. This first collection of short nonfiction includes material about his life under the fatwa ("Messages from the Plague Years") but ranges from discussions of The Wizard of Oz and rock music to his February 2002 lectures on human values at Yale. The title is well chosen; Rushdie tends to be confrontational, and the white-hot publicity has not mellowed him-a 1999 piece debates whether Charlton Heston or Austrian writer Peter Handke, a supporter of Slobodan Milosevic, should be dubbed "Moron of the Year." Although some of the pieces themselves are a bit dated, Rushdie has added updates in footnotes, and in any case he always makes his point. For large collections or journalism special collections.-Shelley Cox, Special Collections, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
From the Publisher
“This book is full of so much that is ‘relevant’ that the very word seems inadequate.” —Los Angeles Times

“Sometimes pensive, sometimes marvelously funny, always lucid essays, reviews, and occasional pieces by the renowned Anglo-Indian novelist.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“The essays crackle with [Rushdie’s] enthusiasm, humor, and intelligence.” —The Miami Herald

“Every reader will find at least one essay in this collection that will bring anger and one that will cause audible laughter—and that is what makes Rushdie such an intelligent critic and thought-provoking writer.” —Rocky Mountain News

“Step Across This Line . . . became my favorite reading this summer. . . . [Rushdie’s essays] mostly celebrate the blurriness of our characters, whether national, religious, or personal, often taking a smudge stick to such boundaries.” —Mary Karr, author of Cherry and The Liars’ Club

“[Rushdie’s] turns and words are frequently exhilarating. There is . . . lilting pleasure in the collection.” —The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679463344
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/10/2002
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

From one of the great novelists of our day, a vital, brilliant new book of essays, speeches and articles essential for our times.
Step Across This Line showcases the other side of one of fiction’s most astonishing conjurors. On display is Salman Rushdie’s incisive, thoughtful and generous mind, in prose that is as entertaining as it is topical. The world is here, captured in pieces on a dazzling array of subjects: from New York’s Amadou Diallo case to the Wizard of Oz, from U2 to fifty years of Indian writing, from a tribute to Angela Carter to the struggle to film Midnight’s Children. The title essay was originally delivered at Yale as the 2002 Tanner lecture on human values, and examines the changing meaning of frontiers in the modern world -- moral and metaphorical frontiers as well as physical ones.
The collection chronicles Rushdie’s intellectual journeys, but it is also an intimate invitation into his life: he explores his relationship to India through a moving diary of his first visit there in over a decade, “A Dream of Glorious Return.” Step Across This Line also includes “Messages From the Plague Years,” a historic set of letters, articles and reflections on life under the fatwa. Gathered together for the first time, this is Rushdie’s humane, intelligent and angry response to a grotesque threat, aimed not just at him but at free expression itself.
Step Across This Line, Salman Rushdie’s first collection of non-fiction in a decade, has the same energy, imagination and erudition as his astounding novels -- along with some very strong opinions.
From the Hardcoveredition.

Author Biography: Salman Rushdie is the award-winning author of eight novels: Fury, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, The Moor’s Last Sigh, Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the “Booker of Bookers”), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Grimus, and Haroun and the Sea of Stories; one collection of short stories, East, West; a book of reportage, The Jaguar Smile, and an earlier collection of essays, Imaginary Homelands. He lives in New York and London.
From the Hardcover edition.

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