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My first experience reading Rushdie - probably will be my last.
on February 24, 2013
I admit that this is the first Rushdie book I have read. I never was attracted to his novels, especially. I am about 400 pages into "Joseph Anton" and am thoroughly bored. I will stick it out to the end, as I do always, but it will be a hard slog. With no disrespect to the author, and to the difficult situation of his life for 10 years, I find him insufferably long-winded and totally self-indulgent. Right off the bat I was put off by Rushdie's use of the third person - not only because it seems pompous, but also since when he brings in other characters (names which swarm all over every page) it becomes confusing as to which "he" is the person being described - is it Rushdie or the other guy? The horror of living under the fatwa notwithstanding, Rushdie repeats and repeats himself, ad nauseam, on the subjects of personal and literary freedom, his (supremely failed) marriages and relationships, and the humdrum-ness of his daily existence. Yes, we get the point - but Rushdie beats this drum incessantly - enough to fill 600 or so pages with lots of word-spinning. I have the feeling that the fatwa brought undue celebrity to Rushdie, even given the fact that he, earlier, had won the Booker Prize. I have the feeling that, if it were not for the fatwa, his books would not be so widely read. I have the feeling that I, for one, fatwa or no fatwa, will not read any more Rushdie. Approach this long and tedious memoir with caution.