Joseph Anton

Joseph Anton

A Memoir

eBook - 2012
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Random House, Inc.
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

Baker & Taylor
On February 14, 1989, Salman Rushdie received a call from a journalist informing him that he had been "sentenced to death" by the Ayatollah Khomeini. It was the first time Rushdie heard the word fatwa. His crime? Writing a novel, 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 for more than nine years, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team. Asked to choose an alias that the police could use, he thought of combinations of the names of writers he loved: Conrad and Chekhov: Joseph Anton. How do a writer and his family live with the threat of murder for over nine years? How does he go on working? How does despair shape his thoughts and actions, and how does he learn to fight back? In this memoir, Rushdie tells for the first time the story of his crucial battle for freedom of speech. He shares the sometimes grim, sometimes comic realities of living with armed policemen, and 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. What happened to Salman Rushdie was the first act of a drama that is still unfolding.--From publisher description.

Baker
& Taylor

The Booker Prize-winning former president of American PEN shares the extraordinary story of how he was forced underground for more than nine years after he was sentenced to holy death by the Ayatollah Khomeini for his controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, describing how his family and he constantly moved and were under police protection in a dangerous life at the forefront of the battle for free speech.

Publisher: New York : Random House, c2012
ISBN: 9780679643883
0679643885
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xii, 636 p.)

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a
athompson10
Jul 22, 2015

Wow. It's long and wordy in places, but Rushdie draws well the fear, boredom, frustration and claustrophobia experienced during the fatwa years. The book is replete with what makes Rushdie a great writer: thoughtfulness, beautiful use of words, penetrating and incisive insights, black comedy and some true cutting wit. He's pretty brutal in his treatment of Wives #2 and 4, both in the relationships and in print, but pretty brutal in his dissection of himself as well.

t
threeoutside
Jul 22, 2015

I am so glad Rushdie wrote this memoir of his years in hiding. All those years I (among millions no doubt) felt real sympathy for his predicament. The reality of living like that was way beyond anything I could have imagined. Some commenters have criticized his soft-pedaling of some of his own behavior. I'd like to see an autobiography or memoir that *doesn't* do that to some extent, and I think Rushdie was fairly honest compared to many. I love his non-fiction writing and this was a treat.

t
talktimereader
Aug 29, 2013

Complex, tediously detailed, thrillingly complete; you must read this for insight into the concept of personal freedom and freedom of expression.

Salman I am so glad you explained your character on screen in Bridget Jones.

a
anneelliot
Jun 13, 2013

Engaging tale of Rushdie's life, including the 9 years he spent under Special Branch protection and hiding from Iranian assassins because of a book he wrote. A testament to the importance of standing up for our freedom to think, speak and write independently and creatively, and in uniting against terrorism in any form. Rushdie is an excellent storyteller, portrays himself in the 3rd person (perhaps to get some distance?) which seems odd at first, and is at times unflinchingly honest in his self-portrait. He also seems to be settling some scores with those who made his years under the fatwa even more difficult, yet after having others who don't necessarily like, know, or understand you define who you are in the media, it's understandable that he'd want to have his say, at last. Most powerful are his words on the power of literature to help us find common ground with one another, even when we may disagree politically, religiously, artistically.

m
marticia
Nov 30, 2012

I want to cancel a hold on Joseph Anton. I'm asked if I really want to cancel. I do. Please help me cancel it.

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