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Joseph Anton: A Memoir
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Joseph Anton: A Memoir

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  5,213 ratings  ·  933 reviews
On February 14, 1989, Valentine’s Day, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told that he had been “sentenced to death” by the Ayatollah Khomeini. For the first time he heard the word fatwa. His crime? To have written a novel called The Satanic Verses, which was accused of being “against Islam, the Prophet and the Quran.”

So begins the extraordinary story
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Kindle Edition, 656 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Vintage Digital
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Petra X
He didn't need the publicity, he didn't need the money, he knew as a highly-educated man brought up as a Muslim, exactly what he was doing and still he did it and brought death and destruction in the wake of his book, The Satanic Verses.

It was a kind of Pyrrhic victory, being morally in the right but impossible to justify when weighed against the many deaths that resulted. Those fundamentalist Muslims were determined to enforce at least outward respect for their 'values' just as he knew they wo
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Jafar
I couldn’t get through The Satanic Verses. I found it unreadable in spite of my immense curiosity for the book. But I picked up this book with great interest to see what Rushdie went through and how he coped with the aftermath of that infamous fatwa. This book is probably twice larger than it should be, and methinks it’s commensurate with Rushdie’s ego.

I’m firmly on Rushdie’s side when it comes to the Satanic Verses saga. That evil, murderous ayatollah in Iran had no right to sentence a writer
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Erik Simon
This book is so long.
How long is it?
This book is so long it made Rushdie's most ardent fans sorry the fatwa didn't succeed. (Ba dump bump.) This book is so long it made Tolstoy worry that WAR AND PEACE wasn't fleshed out enough. (Ba dump bump.) This book is so long it made a mindless, Muslim fascist like Cat Stevens actually write a song called "Peace Train." (Oh, wait. Cat Stevens did write "Peace Train?" As Governor Rick Perry might say: "Oops." And as Rushdie points out, Cat, or whatever h
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Christina
As you are fighting a battle that may cost you your life, is the thing for which you are fighting worth loosing your life for? (p. 285)

So why is it that I feel I have to defend liking this book? Almost all reviews I’ve read – from New York Times to Goodreads – have been rather negative, attacking and blaming Rushdie. So I will just come right out and say that I really liked this book. Yes, he namedrops on every page. Yes, he of course paints a (mostly) positive picture of himself (but who would
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Correen

It took a commitment to finish this book but I was pleased to have done it. Rushdie's manner is sometimes arrogant and seemingly self-involved but he is wonderfully talented and unafraid to let the reader judge him. He analyzes his circumstances and his own thinking and he challenges his reader to understand Salmon's predicament. His story of threat and exile should not be lost as it is significant to our future freedom of speech and artistic expression, our quality of life and even our survival
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Alicia
I was pondering the reviews of this book on Goodreads the other day, as I was almost finished and just wondering what other people think. A lot of people seem to find Rushdie coming across as arrogant or pompous. This is something I totally disagree with and in fact I think one of the issues he actually covers in this book. As the media saw and treated him as arrogant for quite a long time. To me he honestly doesn't come across as arrogant.

Something else people were critical about is the way th
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Amar Pai
Update 9/21/12: now that I'm reading this... it's kind of tedious. I don't think Rushdie's 3rd person affectation works well at all. It made me remember, I don't actually like Rushdie's writing all that much. Gave up on The Satanic Verses after 20 pages. I guess I got caught up in his life story and forgot about his qualities as a writer (which is ironic cos it's precisely the condition he so deplores, his literary qualities getting eclipsed by his status as a current event)

I think his crazy lif
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umang
In the first few chapters, I was a bit surprised at the gossipy, somewhat catty tone, and figured it would be chatty and light and fun, but alas: petty grievances aired, endless names dropped, revenge exacted for real or perceived insults of either the author's conduct or writing, ex-wives trashed. The treatment of these unfortunate women is surprisingly childish; he sounded like a preteen talking about how victimized he was by Padma Lakshmi (and his second wife). He also reveals himself to be s ...more
Moira Russell
I don't even know what to think about this thing. About the first half is really great - even written in the Bob Dole-ish autobiographical third person - gripping, suspenseful, detailed. But the book just dies about halfway through - he starts eliding weeks, months and years, and then disastrously starts flashing forward at the same time as if he thinks he's writing a late Lost episode (near the very end he calls attention to "his Dickensian, let's-tie-up-the-loose-strings seat in the future" wh ...more
Krishna
Salman Rushdie once again comes with another masterpiece work of art in which he recounts dispassionately his fatwa years in hiding and many interesting ,delectable experiences after the publication of a classic Satanic Verses, tragically and stupidly banned in the country of his birth!
Andrew Rumbles
Joseph Anton is the story of Salman Rushdie’s life during the fatwa, as defined by the years in which the British Police insisted his life needed Special Branch protection. The name Joseph Anton is one the police forced him to invent and use for his own protection. To be addressed as Joe in his own home always disconcerted him.

A memoir can be a dry piece of self-centred writing or in Rushdie’s case, a reason to write beautifully and poetically. Like me, you may never have read Salman Rushdie’s w
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Satish Bagal
I have just finished reading memoirs of "Joseph Anton" written by Salman Rushdie and released last week. A remarkable book that is an autobiographical account of the days when the Ayatolla Khomenie issued a "Fatwah" to kill him for blasphemy of the religion and the Quran. It's a fantastic story of what hell and suffering he underwent and how he spent a long period condemned in isolation, humiliation, with death constantly hanging over his head. One wonders how strange the world of writing and th ...more
J.
Nov 02, 2012 J. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: secret celebrities
Shelves: memoir
… a reception at Tina Brown’s house, where he found himself standing in a small circle of guests whose other members were Martin Amis, Martin Scorsese, David Bowie, Iman, Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart and Jerry Seinfeld…
For some reason this seemed like it would be an unnerving and paranoiac modernist turn on memoir-writing, with some swashbuckling-special-branch derring-do on the side. In the end you know a lot more about a typically fretful middle-aged writer and not so much about the extr
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Michael
On February 14 1989, Salman Rushdie got a call asking how he felt about being sentenced to death. The call was from a journalist who told him that the Ayatollah Khomeini has put a fatwa on him. His novel The Satanic Verses was accused of being “against Islam, the Prophet, and the Quran.” This is a memoir of the 10 years he went into hiding and was under police protection because of this fatwa.

When they asked Rushdie to pick an alias the first thing he did was think of the writers he respected, i
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Lena
When Salman Rushdie was abruptly forced into hiding by the declaration of a fatwa against him for his novel, The Satanic Verses, he he combined the fist names of Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekov to create his code name.

Joseph Anton is Rushdie's memoir of those years and the struggles he faced not just to stay alive, but also to have some kind of life behind the wall of protection officers who became his constant companions.

The first third of this book is utterly fascinating. Rushdie faced the wra
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Ananthu
Dec 04, 2013 Ananthu rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rushdie fans
Salman Rushdie in Joseph Anton says that that there’s no such thing as ‘ordinary life’. He tells us that he had always liked the idea of the surrealists that the miraculous nature of life on earth was dulled by habituation. The humdrum of daily life prevented people from experiencing the wonders of the world by forming a layer of dust obscuring their vision. It’s the artists who should wipe this layer and make the people aware of the amazement and beauty of the world. This was before he borrowed ...more
Tony61
I've never been a fan of Salman Rushdie's genre of magical realism and I've never been able to finish one of his novels, yet I found his memoir "Joseph Anton" compelling.

It's a memoir emphasizing Rushdie's plight as an object of a fatwa called by Muslim leaders and supported by the Iranian government because of his alleged disparaging portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad and his wives in the novel The Satanic Verses.

Critics have argued that Rushdie was careless and should have known that fundament
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Lorraine
Salman Rushdie's memoir of his time in hiding during the Ayatollah's fatwa started out very promising - a real life cloak and dagger story! - but became just as tedious as his life probably was during that long, 13 year period. There was a lot of name-dropping of well-known authors, actors and politicians, some who supported him and some who resented him, and a lot of ruminating about the importance of his own work. I skipped a lot of pages just to get through the book. Really can't recommend it ...more
Everyday eBook
Oct 04, 2012 Everyday eBook rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Everyday by: Naina Sharma
I met Salman Rushdie once at a party. I was reluctantly pulled toward him, while my captor belted out, "SALMAN, YOU ARE HER FAVORITE AUTHOR!" He and I both blinked at each other, aware of the awkwardness of the situation. I stammered out, "Yes, you're my favorite author," and Mr. Rushdie said, "Oh, that's nice. Thank you." Then we both walked away, not wanting to prolong the forced moment. Afterward, I was annoyed with my captor for thrusting me into the meeting so abruptly, without giving me ti ...more
Shonna Froebel
This memoir was an eye-opening look at living under threat. Whether it is the actual fear from the threats by Muslim extremists, the restrictions placed on his movements by the police and security officials, the reaction of media, the public reaction or his own family member's reaction, we see the effects on Rushdie's life. Joseph Anton was the pseudonym he chose for the police to use for him during most of this time, initiated once they realized this was not a short term situation.
Salman Rushdi
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Asmita Das
I had pre-ordered this book even before its release and finished in less than a fortnight. It is a page turner -- Rushdie gives a personal account of the nightmarish decade of the fatwa as he fought battles at various ends. Some of the pre-release reviews said that the book provides the reader the required tools of understanding and the urge to go back to his books once again and take another look. However, for me, as I made my way deeper and deeper into the world that became less Rushdie and mo ...more
Georgia Roybal
This book is a detailed description of Salman Rushdie's life during the time he was in hiding due to the fatwa. Many of us after 9/11 can better understand what caused his life to be a nightmare. And a nightmare it was. He details his ups and downs, his tragedies and triumphs with great detail and honesty. At first I had a hard time getting used to the third person, but I really understand why he used third person: it would have been very painful to think of that as yourself. In one section, he ...more
Chris
Full review at Booklikes


I picked this up sooner than I was planning because of an interview Rushdie did with local radio host Mary Moss- Coane and the section he read about talking his son to carnival. Very funny.
This memoir is in some ways two books. The first half of the book is great, the second half feels somewhat like an appointment diary fleshed out. It’s possible that the latter half of the experience is still to raw or that the death of his first wife is too raw.
Rushdie is honest, and
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Elaine
Probably not a 5-star book, but one that I got 5-stars' worth of pleasure listening to--all 27 hours of it. Rushdie knows how to tell a terrific story. He is sensitive and funny, sympathetic, outraged and outrageous, ironic and sardonic, pompous, petulant, sweet, sometimes unreasonable, often understanding, always sparkling with knowledge and intelligence. And hearing the tales of his youth and early adulthood, the reader senses that he had all these qualities well before Iran's fatwa forced him ...more
Christopher Myers
As a reader who practically idolizes this man's work, and an aspiring writer who sees him as a literary hero, it saddens me to say that I don't like this tedious work. Maybe this isn't fair because I normally steer clear of biography, not being very interested in the trivia of a person's life, but I read it to gain insight into the author I respect so much, and to see some illumination of the strange and horrible events that took so many years of his life away and sparked worldwide debate about ...more
Holly
I was entranced by the fatwa and Salman Rushdie's situation back in 1989. I was a college freshman and I couldn't get my hands on a copy of The Satanic Verses, so I read a mass-market copy of Midnight's Children and then Shame that summer (finally reading the Verses when the Consortium edition was published a few years later). In the 1990s I found myself surprised as Rushdie turned to more pop-culture themes and when his later novels were poorly-reviewed. I haven't read him since Moor's Last Sig ...more
Ben

Joseph Anton, Rushdie’s memoir
A review by Ben Antao

Joseph Anton
By Salman Rushdie
Publisher, Knoff Canada, 2012
Pages 633, price $34.95 CAD

If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to see the world from a single point of view, read Joseph Anton, the memoir of Salman Rushdie. This memoir details the rise of the writer from his upbringing in Bombay and settling down in England, his literary success with Midnight’s Children, and his personal downfall with The Satanic Verses.

This book is a one-di
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Kasa Cotugno
Ir's no surprise that Rushdie has written so literate a memoir, what surprises is the content. I must admit i've never been a huge fan of his fiction -- I felt it was too oblique for my taste and the cross cultural aspects bogged me down. I also have a silly reason for not having finished the Satanic Verses, the masterwork that caused the Ayatollah Khoumeni, on his deathbed, to issue a fatwa or death sentence against the author, resulting in a 9 year lockdown. After reading this, however, I plan ...more
Beth
I found this book riveting and it completely changed my view of Salmon Rushdie. During the fatwa, I had the impression that he was a dour, difficult guy who was trying to get attention through provocation. This is how he was pretty much depicted initially by the British press. (And that creepy Richard Avadon photo sure didn't help) Turns out that he is much more compelling and appealing, even funny. He is, of course flawed: Wildly egotistical and self-agrandizing, and extremely harsh on any one ...more
Kat
An astounding first person narrative of what it means to write brilliantly. I have underscored dozens of Rushdie's unique phrase turns. He enchants me with wry humor on one hand and utter profundity on the other. His is a rare and exacting voice which plumbs the depth of language, identity and culture and what it means to be denied that voice he so skillfully used in his writing.The fatwa declared on him in 1989 created an imprisonment of the cruelest kind. Iron bars do not a prison make ... Yet ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
A General Writer or an Aspiring Writers Life! 1 5 Oct 03, 2014 05:53AM  
"Was it worth it" --- should we even ask? 4 38 Jan 18, 2014 03:51PM  
Has blasphemy been freed or constrained by TSV? 4 19 Jan 18, 2014 03:23PM  
Indian Readers: Joseph Anton - October '12 Group Read 19 78 Nov 04, 2012 04:08AM  
Live Video Chat with Salman Rushdie 155 127 Sep 19, 2012 11:48AM  
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Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a novelist and essayist. Much of his early fiction is set at least partly on the Indian subcontinent. His style is often classified as magical realism, while a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world.

His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, led to protests from Muslims in several coun
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More about Salman Rushdie...
Midnight's Children The Satanic Verses Haroun and the Sea of Stories The Enchantress Of Florence Shalimar the Clown

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“The lessons one learns at school are not always the ones the school thinks it's teaching.” 25 likes
“When...did it become irrational to dislike religion, any religion, even to dislike it vehemently? When did reason get redescribed as unreason? When were the fairy stories of the superstitious placed above criticism, beyond satire? A religion was not a race. It was an idea, and ideas stood (or fell) because they were strong enough (or too weak) to withstand criticism, not because they were shielded from it. Strong ideas welcomed dissent.” 22 likes
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