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East, West Paperback – October 1, 2006

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rushdie's collection of nine highly postmodern stories probes the differences and connections between East and West, celebrating the hybrid nature of contemporary identity.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

A first collection of short stories from the famously hidden Rushdie.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; New Ed edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099533014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099533016
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,272,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on September 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
East, West contains a wide variety of short story forms - from the classic story telling of Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies to the post-modern Yorick. All are well written with plots that have interesting twists and reflect a deep understanding of human relationships.
Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies is of a charleton giving free advice to a woman seeking a visa to England to join her fiance. His advice turns out to be valuable.
The Free Radio depicts both a cultural clash (old/new) on birth control as a way to view dreams - of a free radio, of being a movie star.
The Prophet's Hair tells of the theft/loss/theft/loss of the relic of the Prophet ... and the misfortunes accompanying the relic.
Yorick is an exploration of Hamlet's motivations based on his childhood relationship with Yorick and his wife.
At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers is a fascinating look at society and dreams. Kansas will never be the same.
Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain Consummate Their Relationship depicts Christopher gaining the financial backing for his voyage and Isabella's unquechable thirst.
The Harmony of the Spheres follows a friendship through the occult, madness, suicide, and truth - the last being, perhaps, the most difficult.
Chekov and Zulu - names based on Star Trek - follows two childhood friends through the Indian diplomatic corp, the assasination of Indira Gandhi, and their choices of separate directions.
The Courter shows the family and servant relationships of "outsiders" - voluntarily or otherwise - living in London.
The Courter is the most poignant of the stories; The Prophet's Hair the most traditional; Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain Consummate Their Relationship the most original.
This is an excellent collection of short stories. Enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
The stories in this collection present lighter reading than Rushdie's mammoth novels such as Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses but they display just as many of his lavish, elegant and rich prose writing talents. The stories focus on various cultural aspects of Western and Eastern societies - the lifestyles, events, stereotypes and prejudices that affect people in these areas, especially those who, like Rushdie, migrate from one to the other.

The stories are vastly diverse - those in the 'East' section document important cultural events that are particular to Indian society - the woman seeking a Visa to travel West, the man who undergoes a vasectomy to get a free radio. Those in the 'West' section include a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead esque reworking of Hamlet from the perspective of the minor characters and a whimsical portrayal of Christopher Columbus as beholden to the dominant whims of Queen Isabella rather than the pioneering bold explorer of legend.

The final stories 'East, West' tackle issues of East, West cultural commingling. 'The Harmony of the Spheres' is the story of an Indian undergraduate at Cambridge University who encounters a paranoid schizophrenic, obsessed with the occult. Chekov and Zulu, the code names of two diplomats, is a story set in the historical context of Indian politics and mixes Western popular culture images in the unfamiliar context of Asian political circles. The final story 'The Courter' highlights perhaps the dominant theme we associate with East, West migration, the difficulties faced by poor immigrant families in London and the prejudices they suffer. The final page deftly highlights the sensation felt, perhaps by Rushdie himself, and many other people who have crossed frontiers: 'I...
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Format: Paperback
After years of side stepping his books, I finally settled on this short story collection to become better acquainted with Mr. Rushdie. Though very much aware of him since the eighties, I must admit that I have never had it clear in my mind if it was his notoriety or his status as an author that piqued my curiosity. I would rather think it was the latter, of course, and dismiss any notion that I am as easily swayed by the scandal press as any tabloid subscriber. Whatever the case may be, let me say in my defense that I only just purchased a couple of his books within the last year, so any case that may be made for my being influenced by a person's simple celebrity would be somewhat tempered by the fact that it's taken over two decades for said influence to have taken any marked effect over me.

East, West is a volume rich in color and filled with several tales on varied themes, some, I might add, quite unexpected. His writing style seems to fluctuate from one story to the next, going from plain storytelling with little embellishment - almost as plain as one might expect in a fable - to erudite analysis and speculation on popular legend. His prose is very elegant and flows gently, and he paints lovely portraits of his characters. At times I found him long winded though, and tiresome. There were a couple of stories that I considered skipping past at the halfway point, but I stuck it out due to their shortness in length. I wonder if perhaps those particular stories were intended for a purely scholarly audience, since their frame of reference seemed to require prior understanding and in depth knowledge of the matter at hand. Regardless, I have walked away with a pleasant impression of Mr. Rushdie and I look forward to reading one of his novels.
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