Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002
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Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  800 ratings  ·  59 reviews
From one of the great novelists of our day, a vital, brilliant new book of essays, speeches and articles essential for our times.

Step Across This Line showcases the other side of one of fiction’s most astonishing conjurors. On display is Salman Rushdie’s incisive, thoughtful and generous mind, in prose that is as entertaining as it is topical. The world is here, captured...more
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Published September 10th 2002 by Random House (first published 2002)
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Sep 13, 2008 Charissa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who wish to bask in the brilliance of a fine mind
I finally returned to this book and decided to stop approaching it by doggedly slogging through the first 4/5ths of it in order to "earn" reading what I bought it for: what Rushie had to say after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the US. Boy am I glad I did. Here is a link to what he wrote in just the month following the attacks:

One month later and he's already sorting through the heart of the matter, unflinchingly beginning even then to turn over stones... wh...more
Punit Soni
Somewhere in the course of this collection of his non-fiction works, Rushdie says, "[we].. are like a child picking shells on the beach never noticing the huge ocean of magnificient beauty right in front of it..". I sit mesmerized, looking around myself in awe, wondering where to start and where to end. When there is so much to know, so much that intrigues and so much that enraptures, there is sometimes a real danger of absorbing nothing or worse, wasting one's time in indecision. This book is l...more
Max Karpovets
от Салман Рушді у доволі непоганому, але якось надто рівному есе Ще раз на захист роману, пише: Бо література - справжня література - завжди була надбанням меншості. все вірно, але я ніяк не можу скласти конструкт "справжня література". та, яка лікує? очищає? чи, як пише Рушді у есе про Артура Мілера, є конденсатором моралі?..

тут насправді треба чітко відрізняти моралізаторські романи і романи, де питання моралі/етичний нерв - вихідне (Достоєвський, Філіп Рот, Уільям Голдінг - спонтанно пишу). т...more
Patrick McCoy
I previous enjoyed reading Salman Rushdie’s first book of essays Imaginary Homelands, so I thought I would also read Step Across This Line: Collected Essays from 1992-2002. I also enjoyed many of the essays in this volume, however, many of them were concerned with personal freedom and Islam due to this experience of having gone underground to avoid the fatawa that was on his head-which is completely understandable given the situation. However, some of his points are repeated too frequently in th...more
Rushdie has been hit or miss for me. I devoured Haroun and the Sea of Stories; savored Shalimar the Clown and The Ground Beneath Her Feet. but I can't seem to make myself get into Midnight's Children, I try and I stall. I've read about have of The Moor's Last Sigh and don't really mind that I don't know how it ends. I've ceased to expect much from Rushdie aside from his wonderful prose. Maybe I'll be drawn in to the story, maybe not.
Before reading this I'd never attempted his nonfiction, I'm no...more
Georgia Roybal
Salman Rushdie is one of my favorite authors. This book of essays gives his thoughts on a wide variety of subjects. I especially was interested in the section including his descriptions of his life under the fatwa.

I want to include some quotes from the book. The first is a precious description of the TaJ Mahal, something agreed to be pretty much indescribable.

"I had been skeptical about the visit. One of the legends of the Taj is that the hands of the master masons who built it were cut off by t...more
Paige Knorr
Oh my. This is the first of Rushdie's writing I've read. I read it in bits and pieces over the course of a week, staying with a friend up in the Northwest Territories.

The essays were brilliant, each one thought-provoking, readable without being dumbed-down, and witty. Likewise, the fourth section pieces on frontiers and ideas - incredible, and absolutely warrant a re-read (or three) at a later point in time.

I knew only the basic details of the 'Rushdie affair' before I started this, so I found...more
Moira Russell
Bought this basically for the huge, enormous, gigantic essay on the Wizard of Oz which I read in the New Yorker when it came out, marveling at each turn of the page how it just went on and on and on. (There was an equally huge, enormous, gigantic essay -- not at the same time -- on Judy Garland's entire ouvre. I forget who wrote it. Probably Anthony Lane. .....hunh, nope. (I have both those issues, somewhere, moldering and yellow, in a box. In a closet. Decaying slowly in the dark.)
The only previous exposure (other than popular media) I'd had was the excellent (and sadly OOP) audiobook version of Haroun and the Sea of Stories, read by the author.

So far, this book a wide-ranging collection of essays, speeches & articles. Some have been more engaging than others (his look at the movie version of The Wizard of Oz was fascinating!), but I'm generally enjoying it & feel more comfortable about moving on to some of his fiction.

I did start feeling a bit of "fatwa fatigu...more
Jackie Intres
One of the most important collection of essays I have ever read. He covers a wide range of topics (soccer, movies, writers, political movements, his own fatwa, India, America, etc) but his values never falter. Always he will return to the concept of freedom; what is freedom? What does it look like? Do we value it? How can we protect it? Freedom of speech and the arts. Freedom of and from religion. Freedom from political or economic or philosophical oppression. It all ties together and it all mat...more
This collection opens with an interminable, overreaching, boring essay on the Wizard of Oz and closes with a smart, insightful, wide-ranging essay on the idea frontier. The filler in between is mediocre and mostly about what it's like to be Salman Rushdie.

Shahine Ardeshir
I'm an absolute fan of Salman Rushdie, and my intention to (eventually) make my way through everything he's written. That was the motivation behind picking up 'Step Across This Line'.

Even though this isn't fiction, you recognize Rushdie's ideas, his comfort with being opinionated and even his imagination fairly quickly. Much like in Joseph Antoine, I often found myself interested in how colourfully he seemed to view an event, for instance, that I saw mostly in greys. That process I enjoyed thoro...more
Rudiran Messias
O livro de ensaios do aclamado autor de Versos Satânicos é uma preciosa coleção de textos que lançam luzes sobre a genialidade de um autor e sua obra.

Os assuntos variam muito entre si e se revelam atuais, quase atemporais, apesar do fato de que alguns dos textos foram escritos muitos anos atrás. Ali se encontram ensaios sobre outros escritores, sobre filmes, livros, enfim: impressões argutas e bem-humoradas do autor sobre diversos temas. Destaque especial é dado para uma seção com textos sobre...more
I read only half of Rushdie's "Fury", because the novel felt more like an editorial with plot. "Fury" was the last novel I tried to read, switching this year to nonfiction alone. "Step Across This Line" is a collection of Rushdie's many essays, journal entries and op-ed pieces, and if you enjoy Rushdie's novels, you will likely appreciate his refreshing political perspective. Rushdie is very reasonable, very down-to-earth, very humanitarian. His analysis is vivifying; his knowledge of world affa...more
This is sort of a strange and eclectic collection, encompassing small journalistic pieces on popular music and cinema, longer essays on literature and politics, and messages "from the plague years," i.e., his seclusion in protective custody due to Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa for The Satanic Verses. Across all of these forms and genres, Rushdie combines his vast cultural knowledge with witty turns of phrase that never sound condescending or "high-brow."

I call this volume "strange," though, because...more
With great power comes great responsibility, goes the saying. In case of great writers, the power they exercise also provides great opportunities to make people listen (or in this case read) to everything they say or write.

Rushdie, literary giant in his own right, seems to exercises this great power in this collection of non fiction that is littered with gems, but is let down by what seems like mostly filler material.

Divided into 4 parts, the first part is by far the best with Rushdie discussin...more
This is Salman Rushdie's second collection of essays, which range from 1992 to 2002. Like his first collection Imaginary Homelands, I do not think that this is essentially reading for anyone but dedicated Rushdie fans, but the collection stands out as a commentary on Rushdie's place in the current literary scene.

For ultimately what pervades this collection is a sense of desperation. During the early 1990s Rushdie didn't want to speak about the controversy of The Satanic Verses and the fatwa, pre...more
I really enjoyed this, because Rushdie's writing is so fluid and witty and easy to read, and because he touches on so many different subjects in this book. This is all essays and columns and stuff, and he really runs the gamut, there's a great piece that's his analysis of "The Wizard of Oz", from an adult standpoint but fully admitting that it was the first movie to ever really make a big impression on him so he's a big fan. It's intellectual and not, which makes it fun; he gets into the geometr...more
Sep 14, 2008 Cyril rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Politially and socialy conscious people
This is a book to take time over. The many, many essays each deserve attention: so it is foolish to swish through them. Rushdie gives you so much to think about in each essay, that you need to read it, put the book down and then think a bit. SO it's best read one essay at a time, one day at a time.

That's how they were published initially, so that makes sense for the reader too. Unlike a compilation of short stories, Rushdie talks here directly to the reader about political and social issues that...more
Why didn't I read Salman Rushdie sooner?? The first essay in this collection sold me on him immediately. It's a fun, interesting discussion of The Wizard of Oz, his experience with the movie, the making of the movie, its symbolism...

My favourite quote:
"What [Dorothy] embodies . . . is the human dream of leaving, a dream at least as powerful as the countervailing dream of roots . . . this is unarguably a film about the joys of going away, of leaving the greyness and entering the color, of making...more
In general, I like Rushdie's thinking, both in fiction and nonfiction form, but this collection of essays mostly just didn't do it for me. I by no means state this as any sort of definitive fact: Definitely don't take my word for it. Some of the essays were interesting, but I'd already read a lot of his writing on the fatwa, which he explores in considerably more depth in his memoirs Joseph Anton, and a lot of the other essays were simply on topics that didn't interest me: literary criticism of...more
Etta Mcquade
Some of these essays and speeches were quite interesting; some downright boring; and some difficult to understand. His lenghtly discussion of the first movie that impressed him as a child, "The Wizard of Oz," was intelletual and fun, as he gets into the geometric shapes of Kansas scenes, sees that the witch of the east can't be all that bad, and concludes that OZ "finally became home; the imagined world became the actual world," because it's the home we make for ourselves that's important. I lik...more
I LOVE the essays in this book. One of my favorites is "Out of Kansas," where he talks about how silly Dorothy was to want to go home. Well, I've never liked The Wizard of Oz.

The one that sticks out to me, though, is his passionate defense of atheism & secular culture, "Imagine There's No Heaven" (which you can also find online....shhhhh). Regardless of your own religious beliefs, this is a convincing essay. Rushdie points out that millennia of religious scholars have left us written wisdom....more
I've been meaning to read Rushdie for a while and thought a non-fiction anthology would be a good primer to get a feel for the author. I do thing thing whereupon reading a book that has been hyped too much to me or overexposed, I can't help having the book reviewers, magazine articles, and people's comments in my head while reading. Instead of diving straight into Rushdie's most-known works, I thought I'd take a little side trip. This book did not disappoint, though I had to look up some of the...more
Rushdie is not known for his nonfiction as much as his novels, but this collection is excellent and well worth seeking out. He discusses a large range of topics, including the state of contemporary literature, the meaning of history and modernity, pop culture, and his own struggles against religious fanaticism and threats of murder. I particularly enjoyed the essay about visiting India with his son, after it was safe for him to return to public life. His descriptions of the country and its meani...more
Jul 05, 2010 Sull rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sull by: Library find.
This was pretty good in spots. Rushdie is an entrancing writer when he really gets wound up about something, very creative use of lingo, wakes you right up. I like a lot of his ideas too. The first long piece about 'The Wizard of Oz' was excellent! There were several pieces about life for Muslims after 9-11 which were interesting but not riveting--I guess they've dated a bit. Then some neat things about his childhood in Bombay/Mumbai. I didn't finish it all (some too boring bits), but glad I rea...more
The best writing in this collection is very fine, perhaps most particularly the long section of speeches and writings directly concerning the years of internal exile between the issue and the retraction (ten years later) of an order from Iran to have him killed. I do wish it had been edited more tightly. Easily 75 pages of reprinted columns could have been shed without loss, and perhaps 25 more by judicious trimming of an excess sentence here, paragraph there, phrase or auxiliary clause somewher...more
Another Audio Book: Highlight is Rushdie's return to India after many years of being denied a visa following the Satanic Verses. Essay on soccer excellent as well. I've heard Rushdie on the radio and enjoy hearing talk about the real world, and that's what this non-fiction collection of essays does. But in the end, this is a series of essays, speechs and short articles. It's like reading the New Yorker. What I need to do is just jump into his fiction. I'm thinking Midnight's Children.
I adore the letter to the 6 billionth human.

Also, I saw Salman Rushdie read from this book in the weeks before it came out. It was the first time since teenagehood that I've felt inspired to become someone's groupie. He is *amazing* in person. I've seen other authors I love talk or read live, and while they were usually fine, none of them came even close to Rushdie's Stage Presence.
May 09, 2011 Paritoshbhole rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bombastic Language Lovers
Salman Rushdie is a writer of tremendous puissance and flair. He is an indefatigable reader of other people's works. A bit bombastic at times but more does a bombastic-language lover want. No other writer has impressed me or influenced me so much at first encounter. I am tempted to use the irrestibly apt cliche: Rushdie is an institution.
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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...more
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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“How do you defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorized.” 80 likes
“The fundamentalist seeks to bring down a great deal more than buildings. Such people are against, to offer just a brief list, freedom of speech, a multi-party political system, universal adult suffrage, accountable government, Jews, homosexuals, women's rights, pluralism, secularism, short skits, dancing, beardlessness, evolution theory, sex. There are tyrants, not Muslims.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that we should now define ourselves not only by what we are for but by what we are against. I would reverse that proposition, because in the present instance what we are against is a no brainer. Suicidist assassins ram wide-bodied aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and kill thousands of people: um, I'm against that. But what are we for? What will we risk our lives to defend? Can we unanimously concur that all the items in the preceding list -- yes, even the short skirts and the dancing -- are worth dying for?

The fundamentalist believes that we believe in nothing. In his world-view, he has his absolute certainties, while we are sunk in sybaritic indulgences. To prove him wrong, we must first know that he is wrong. We must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world's resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons. Not by making war but by the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them.

How to defeat terrorism? Don't be terrorized. Don't let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared.”
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