Friday, September 14, 2012

Finally, the Details of Rushdie's Life in Hiding

I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Salman Rushdie to have to hide, in fear of his life, with limited contact with his family, friends, and literary connections, for the many years he was under Khomeini’s fatwa condemning him to death for what was perceived, in his book “The Satanic Verses,” as blasphemy against Islam and its prophet. Now we have a fascinating, gripping and detailed glimpse into Rushdie’s experiences in his current New Yorker (9/17/12) essay titled “The Disappeared.” We read with mounting dread and sympathy of how Rushdie’s life was turned upside down in 1989; he was in hiding (protected by the British government and police) for over nine years, and continued to receive threats even after that. Rushdie’s book, “Joseph Anton,” describing this whole experience, will be out later this month. I have followed this story from the beginning, was fortunate enough to hear Rushdie speak in the San Francisco City Arts and Lectures series a few years ago, and look forward to reading the new book.

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