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Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 (Modern Library Paperbacks) Paperback – September 30, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Shelley Cox, Special Collections, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Rushdie can be ruthless and hardhitting, as in his piece `Not About Islam?' which calls a spade a spade. He can be maddeningly provocative, as in the Introduction to his Vintage Anthology of Indian Writing in English (collected here as `Damme, This Is the Oriental Scene for You!' with a half-sheepish footnote and a slight toning down of his earlier abrasive remarks on regional literatures). He can be passionate in his indignation against racial injustice, and expansive in his appreciation of rock music. But at all times his good humour, his sense of mischief, plays peek-a-boo with his most profound beliefs. He thumbs his nose unselfconsciously at stuff-shirts, no matter how high a pedestal they occupy. He refers en passant to Shashi Deshpande's `curdled judgments'; he dismisses with a shrug the divine aspirations of `dharma bums'; he does not like the way J.M.Read more ›
What is the result? Let's start off with the columns, which are generally the weakest part of the book. They are mostly unremarkable journalism and are often facile. Particular examples would include Rushdie's pieces on the new millenium, an outburst of creationism in Kansas, the rise of Jorg Haider and the apotheosis of Joseph Lieberman. But not all of them are so average. There are good pieces on the crisis in Kashmir, the military regime in Pakistan, the campaign against destructive and wasteful Indian dams, and the civil war in Fiji. There is a rather sharp and critical piece against J.M. Coetzee's "Disgrace." He has an amusing jibe against James Cameron's claim that his remake of "Solaris" will combine "2001" with "Last Tango in Paris": ...There is one particular turn of his phrase in his article on the police killing of Amadou Diallo. Rushdie states that it would be "unimaginably awful" to have Diallo's killers patrolling the street, and then he stops himself: it would all be too "imaginably awful" to have that, given the persistence of police brutality and the ineffective measures against it. There is also his denunciation of V.S.Read more ›
However, all of the features of Rushdie's style that I occasionally consider to be ill-suited to long fiction I find to work perfectly in this collected anthology of short nonfiction. A little focus is a wonderful thing, and in Step Across This Line Rushdie dissects thoughts and attitudes in the real world with laser-like lucidity and precision.
These essays and columns range in subject matter from Arthur Miller to the rock band U2 to his struggle with the infamous Iranian fatwa. Both the weighty (example: a reevaluation of Ghandi's legacy) and the trivial (example: the relevance of the aging Rolling Stones in the world of rock music) are examined with wit and depth - and even the trivial themes are used to shine a light on not-so-trivial aspects of our modern society.
Most importantly, I left each essay with a new opinion and point of view - with many of which I agreed and all of which I found in some way illuminating. In the long essay Step Across This Line he examines the way that borders and frontiers shape the evolution of cultures. In summary: an excellent collection of thoughtful and concise essays. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
By way of disclosure: This is a review of a hardback copy I bought some years back in a used book store. Read morePublished on April 27, 2013 by Phred
I am still reading this wonderful collection of essays. I am presently engrossed in "Messages from the Plague Years" which is a selection of pieces he wrote during the long... Read morePublished on May 1, 2012 by Rafiq Mahmood
It's not rocket science.
Take one of the most gifted and prolific of writers, add extraordinary living conditions (say, in exile and under the brooding shadow of a... Read more
Author's collected nonfiction, 1992-2002.
Noted excerpts: pg 359 contrasts "pre-literate" mythology of American West vs. literate constructors of these so-called "legends". Read more
Caveat #1 - I did not actually read this book, I listened to it. And, unfortunately, despite the publisher's claim that the audiobook was unabridged, it was very much abridged. Read morePublished on May 17, 2009 by A. Ross
A set of great essays by Rushdie on various topics that happened over different periods.They are written in Rushdie's exquisite style. Read morePublished on April 22, 2009 by US
This is a book to take time over. The many, many essays each deserve attention: so it is foolish to swish through them. Read morePublished on September 14, 2008 by Amazon Customer
I've never read Salman Rushdie before, so I was at a bit of a disadvantage
when listening to STEP ACROSS THIS LINE . . . Read more
Like most essay collections, this one is hit or miss.
When Rushdie hits, the results are sublime. Read more