Excerpt from Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Joseph Anton

A Memoir

by Salman Rushdie

Joseph Anton
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2012, 656 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2013, 656 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Will I see you tomorrow, Dad?" He shook his head. "But I'll call you," he said. "I'll call you every evening at seven. If you're not going to be here," he told Clarissa, "please leave me a message on the answering machine at home and say when I should call instead." This was early 1989. The terms PC, laptop, cellphone, mobile phone, Internet, Wi-Fi, SMS, email, were either unknown or very new. He did not own a computer or a mobile phone. But he did own a house, even if he could not spend the night there, and in the house there was an answering machine, and he could call in and interrogate it, a new use of an old word, and get, no, retrieve, his messages. "Seven o'clock," he repeated. "Every night, okay?" Zafar nodded gravely. "Okay, Dad."

He drove home alone and the news on the radio was all bad. Two days earlier there had been a "Rushdie riot" outside the U.S. Cultural Center in Islamabad, Pakistan. (It was not clear why the United States was being held responsible for The Satanic Verses.) The police had fired on the crowd and there were five dead and sixty injured. The demonstrators carried signs saying RUSHDIE< YOU ARE DEAD. Now the danger had been greatly multiplied by the Iranian edict. The Ayatollah Khomeini was not just a powerful cleric. He was a head of state ordering the murder of the citizen of another state, over whom he had no jurisdiction; and he had assassins at his service and they had been used before against "enemies" of the Iranian Revolution, including enemies living outside Iran. There was another new word he had to learn. Here it was on the radio: extraterritoriality. Also known as state-sponsored terrorism. Voltaire had once said that it was a good idea for a writer to live near an international frontier so that, if he angered powerful men, he could skip across the border and be safe. Voltaire himself left France for En gland after he gave offense to an aristocrat, the Chevalier de Rohan, and remained in exile for seven years. But to live in a different country from one's persecutors was no longer to be safe. Now there was extraterritorial action. In other words, they came after you.

Night in Lonsdale Square was cold, dark and clear. There were two policemen in the square. When he got out of his car they pretended not to notice. They were on short patrol, watching the street near the flat for one hundred yards in each direction, and he could hear their footsteps even when he was indoors. He realized, in that footstephaunted silence, that he no longer understood his life, or what it might become, and he thought for the second time that day that there might not be very much more of life to understand. Pauline went home and Marianne went to bed early. It was a day to forget. It was a day to remember. He got into bed beside his wife and she turned toward him and they embraced, rigidly, like the unhappily married couple they were. Then, separately, each lying with their own thoughts, they failed to sleep.

Footsteps. Winter. A black wing fluttering on a climbing frame. I inform the proud Muslim people of the world, ristle-te, rostle-te, mo, mo, mo. To execute them wherever they may find them. Ristle-te, rostle-te, hey bombosity, knickety-knackety, retroquo -quality, willoby-wallaby, mo, mo, mo.

Excerpted from Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie. Copyright © 2012 by Salman Rushdie. Excerpted by permission of Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Day Literature Made Headlines

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Sellout
by Paul Beatty

The first book by an American author to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
    by Kathleen Rooney

    "Effervescent with verve, wit, and heart" - Booklist, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Rise
    by Cara Brookins

    How a house built a family. An inspiring real-life story.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win No Man's Land

No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.

Enter

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Sellout
    by Paul Beatty
    Paul Beatty's The Sellout was one of those books that flew somewhat under the radar when it was...
  • Book Jacket: Ruler of the Night
    Ruler of the Night
    by David Morrell
    Amateur sleuth Thomas De Quincey is back in a mystery set in Victorian England. This time, he and ...
  • Book Jacket: A List of Cages
    A List of Cages
    by Robin Roe
    Robin Roe has written one helluva young adult debut novel. Alternating first person narratives by a ...

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H W S W T Devil S H A L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.