25 January, 2021

Taking His Word

This collection makes us privy to the man behind the words, his strengths and vulnerabilities uncovered as a chronicle of his life never told in this fashion.

Taking His Word
When a country begins to log the lucrative history of its ‘new’ English from one book, Midnight’s Children, every utterance of the author gets flagged for reference. Salman Rushdie, an iconic figure of resistance and belief in the twilight years of the last century, has had checkered ties with India. Celebrated for his literary genius, reviled for his myopic views on regional literature, feted during his last visit to Delhi, he allows of no dullness. This is true of this book too. The 34 interviews are full of gems: from the writer as well his interrogators like David Frost and Jeremy Isaacs. Frost, for instance, has Rushdie talking immediately after he was conferred an honorary professorship at MIT, and met President Clinton at the White House (November 20, 1993). To the question, "If the fatwa was to be lifted, how would you spend your first day of freedom," Rushdie answers, "I think I’d go to a movie probably." He misses, he says, "just ordinary life".

The early interviews give rare glimpses of the pre-famous Rushdie. While in "freelance advertising to...


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