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East, West: Stories Paperback – December 23, 1995


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East, West: Stories + Midnight's Children: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) + The Satanic Verses: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage International ed edition (December 23, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679757899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679757894
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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.

More About the Author

Sir Salman Rushdie is the author of many novels including Grimus, Midnight's Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown and The Enchantress of Florence. He has also published works of non-fiction including, The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, The Wizard of Oz and, as co-editor, The Vintage Book of Short Stories.

He has received many awards for his writing including the European Union's Aristeion Prize for Literature. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. In 1993 Midnight's Children was judged to be the 'Booker of Bookers', the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. In June 2007 he received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Customer Reviews

It also brings in Rushdie's love of contemporary and pop culture; an antithesis to the esoteric 'Yorick' !
An admirer of Saul
The characters in this story are poorly portrayed and the plot contrived to the point of being altogether ineffective.
C. J. Singh
All are well written with plots that have interesting twists and reflect a deep understanding of human relationships.
M. J. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful 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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sirin on April 11, 2005
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MK Writer on July 30, 1997
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this collection of stories, and think that the book is a good introduction to Rushdie. I think my favorites in the collection were "The Prophet's Hair," and "The Courter." In fact, I think "The Prophet's Hair," was the story which truly reminded me that Rushdie knows how to turn a phrase. While at times there is a certain ambivalence in some stories, I think that is understandable in point of view of Rushdie's own background. It is an attitude that comes from being a product of two cultures and wanting to have claims to both, not just one or the other, as Rushdie so elegantly proclaims at the end of "The Courter."
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 16, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Those of the western world who are intrigued with the far east are greatly encouraged to seek out this title. In it, we find 9 examples filled with characters and scenes that feel at times as if from a fairy tale; at other moments like a shot of realism. Rushdie understands the people of India and Pakistan as Joyce understood Dubliners and Faulkner the people of Mississipi. You feel after a time as though you know them personally. And no, the book is not one focused vision, (like "Shame" or the infamous "Satanic Verses") but rather like Joyce's aforementioned journey into the heart of Dublin. It's a wide cast of characters and an interesting chain of events. Perfect for a fast, invigorating read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked up this collection of Rushdie's short stories mostly because it contained "The Prophet's Hair" which I had
read previously, and because I was intrigued by the suggestive story premises. A story about Yorick? Christopher Columbus? I am a fairly recent novitiate into the world of Rushdie (the only other novel of his I've read is
"Midnight's Children"), and I must say I am continued to be amazed. Rushdie crafts believable worlds which, outwardly fantastic or not, suggest the possibility of elusive magic just out of reach but still quite tangible. He has an uncanny ear for dialogue; one is almost to be able to literally "hear" the words spoken by his characters, especially the Anglo-Indian spoken by characters from his homeland.

There are nine stories in this volume, and though it is a quick read (I was able to read through the entire work in a single two hour sitting), the stories are immensely immersive. The stories are divided into three sections representing not only the locales for the setting, but also the cultural outlook of the characters described. The "East" stories blend the mysticism and political awareness I was familiar with from the previous Rushdie book I'd read, while the "West" stories reflect the fantastic madness of our Western culture. It's in the "East, West" section that Rushdie is his strongest. These stories deal with the collision of Rushdie's two backgrounds and the conflicts that arise from the struggle to maintain an identity between the confliction spheres of influence.

This is perhaps a better introduction to Rushdie than "Midnight's Children".
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