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Joseph Anton: A Memoir Hardcover – September 18, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 417 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Rushdie accomplishes many wondrous and momentous feats in this profound and galvanizing memoir. He shares the now strangely foreshadowing fact that his ardent storyteller father invented their last name, paying tribute to Ibn Rushd, a twelfth-century Spanish Arab philosopher who argued for rationalism over Islamic literalism. He explains how, decades later, when British protection officers asked him to come up with an alias, really a nom de guerre, Rushdie concocted Joseph Anton in homage to Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov. His first fictions, he observes, were the upbeat letters he sent to his parents in India, concealing his boarding-school miseries in cold and racist 1960s England. He learned to focus on his inner life, cherish kindred spirits, and navigate adversity, skills that served him well after the Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa, sentencing Rushdie to death for writing The Satanic Verses (1988). Rushdie tells the full, astonishing, and necessary story of his 13 hellish years of threats, risk, and protective isolation in a passionately detailed, sardonically witty, and intensely dramatic third-person chronicle of a landmark battle in the war for liberty in the Muslim world. Forthright about his personal struggles and immensely grateful to all who championed his cause, Rushdie elucidates what literature does for us and why artistic and intellectual freedoms truly are matters of life and death. --Donna Seaman

Review

“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

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Product details

  • Publisher : Random House; 1st edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 656 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0812992784
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0812992786
  • Item Weight : 2.42 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 417 ratings

Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5
417 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 5, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on March 24, 2016
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3 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Nic Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable guilty pleasure; naughty but nice
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 22, 2015
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7 people found this helpful
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Garry Paton
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, detailed, disturbing and sad insight.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 15, 2013
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One person found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Eloquent description of the fatwa years
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 23, 2015
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2 people found this helpful
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ganga
5.0 out of 5 stars an astonishing memoir
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 21, 2012
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2 people found this helpful
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HarryG
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent defence of literary freedom
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 25, 2013
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