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Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991 Paperback – May 1, 1992


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Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991 + Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 (Modern Library Paperbacks) + The Satanic Verses: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 439 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (May 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140140360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140140361
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rushdie calls his controversial novel The Satanic Verses "a migrant's-eye view of the world," and indeed the theme of cultural transplantation informs many of the 75 essays and reviews gathered in this impressive collection. Whether he is analyzing racial prejudice in Britain or surveying an India riven by fundamentalism and politics of religious hatred, he writes as an impartial observer, a citizen of the world. Subtle and witty, these concise, eloquent pieces are a pleasure to read. Rushdie's wide-ranging sympathies range from Grace Paley's stories to Thomas Pynchon's political allegories. He situates such writers as Gunter Grass, John le Carre and Mario Vargas Llosa in a political context. Along with a devastating review of the movie Gandhi and a withering portrayal of Margaret Thatcher's class-ridden, jingoist Britain, there are two resounding replies (both written last year) to critics of The Satanic Verses : Rushdie explains the book's intentions and defends the freedom of the writer.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The 75 articles collected here, many of them book reviews, range widely over literary, political, and religious themes. Among the topics covered are racism in Great Britain, the existence of a Commonwealth literature, and the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Books reviewed include works by Saul Bellow, V.S. Naipaul, Nadine Gordimer, Italo Calvino, Heinrich Boll, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Underlying much of his work--and lending it some unity--is Rushdie's concern with migration and nationality, with celebrating difference and freedom of expression over orthodoxy and conformity. Two essays in the concluding section, "In Good Faith" and "Why I Have Embraced Islam," speak directly to the author's plight as a result of his publication of The Satanic Verses . Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.
- William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Al Kihano on November 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
These essays are interesting, if only because they tell us at long last what kind of mind could possibly have produced novels like _Midnight's Children_ and _The Satanic Verses_. The answer: a very playful, very thoughtful one. The essays and reviews here are not always very deep (sometimes they sound more like book reports than like reviews), but they always have a freshness and stylistic beauty that is enviable to say the least. There is a wonderful sense of humour at work here. Even the essays I disagree with I revisit now and then out of admiration for Rushdie's writing.
That said, there are some pieces in here whose contents equal or surpass their forms. The Carver obit is sad and fitting, and the more personal essays are poignant insights into the author's condition.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Sood on May 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
For all those who have read and loved a Rushdie novel, Imaginary Homelands provides more of the same biting humor, insightful thoughts, and elegant prose as Rushdie shares with us his thoughts on everything from censorship to Stephen Hawking. A fair amount of time is spent on criticisms of various novels and authors and I, for one, found it fascinating to see what such an acclaimed author thinks of his peers. Given that this volume contains numerous essays, you will definitely want to pick and choose what to read and will probably end up doing so over an extended period of time. But you must at least take the time to read a little. As always, Rushdie's language is beautiful and forthrightness admirable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
IMAGINARY HOMELANDS is a collection of Salman Rushdie's writings from 1981 to 1991. They include essays, book reviews, interviews, and random musings dating from the beginning of his popularity after his novel MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN until the third anniversary of the death fatwa pronounced on him by the Ayatollah Khomeini for his book THE SATANIC VERSES.
As with any collection of essays, IMAGINARY HOMELANDS is inconsistent and not every essay will interest every reader. However, there's sure to be a lot of gems here for fans of Rushdie. The literary legacy of the 1980's is quickly being erased from the popular memory, and readers today are forgetting the output of that underappreciated decade. There are reviews here range from one of Graham Greene's last novels to physics superstar Stephen Hawking's A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME. Reading IMAGINARY HOMELANDS today is important to refresh one's knowledge of the 1980's from a literary standpoint. Also, Rushdie proves himself again a man deeply troubled by oppression. He often mentions Pakistan's ruthless US-supported General Zia, and in "A Conversation with Edward Said" deals with the issue of Palestinian identity. His review of V.S. Naipaul's "Among the Believers", a journal of travels through the new Islamic states that sprung up in the 80's, and his two essays on the reaction of Muslims to THE SATANIC VERSES are helpful works to read in this time when dealing with Islamic extremism is such a driving force in international relations. Critics have often found Salman Rushdie hard to classify, wondering if he is an Indian or British writer, or a "Commonwealth" novelist, and Rushdie confronts the madness of classifying everything in "There Is No Such Thing As Commonwealth Literature".
If you enjoyed greatly the wry irony of THE SATANIC VERSES and other Rushdie novels, IMAGINARY HOMELANDS may interest you. While it won't engage the average reader, fans of Rushdie will get a lot out of this collection.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a insightful companion to Rushdie's novels. After reading Midnight's Children, the many essays in Imaginary Homelands explained a great deal to me about Rushdie's passions and blind spots.
Sure, there are some howlers in here, and Rushdie even admits as much in the intro. He trashes George Orwell and Jane Austen for their detachment from contemporary events, and then whinges about how unjust it is for inerrantist Muslims to persecute him as they have done. Of course the fatwa is barbaric but Rushdie's reaction is a bit inconsistent, given that anyone writing about Islam in the late '80s surely must have been aware of the illiberalism of some adherents. Not Mr. Rushdie, however, which makes him look a bit silly.
Beyond that, Rushdie has the annoying habit of believing that he is a polymath when he clearly isn't. He sheepishly admits to befuddlement in the face of Hawking's book on physics and cosmology, but feels quite at home imposing sophomoric economic interpretations on top of his socialist politics. And his few essays about America in this book suffer from the same myopia for which he dismisses one of Naipaul's books: he clearly draws sweeping (and fashionably Eurocentric damning) conclusions about an extremely diverse society after visiting only its two largest (coastal) cities.
However, when Rushdie sticks to politics, the theme of the immigrant and the exile, and observations on racism and social dislocation, his writing is poignant, eloquent and powerful. This book is a very rewarding companion to his novels. I recommend it highly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
Imaginary Homelands is the perfect companion to the rest ofRushdie. For serious readers/critics of Rushdie's work there is nobetter introduction to Rushdie the author and reader. The book is a collection of essays on myraid topics, the fatwa, racism in Britian, Rushdie's literary influences, politics and the language of Rushdie's fiction. The essays capture what numerous interviews might not have, the playful humour and intense earnestness of the author. One gets a taste of what goes through the mind of an author who is part of the literati, and a critic of his own work. Imaginary Homelands gives you an excellent introduction to the manner in which Rushdie writes, why he thinks the way he does, why his language is as it is, and the place his writing finds in his own mind and life.
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