Joseph Anton

  • by Salman Rushdie
  • Narrated by Salman Rushdie, Sam Dastor
  • 27 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for: Biography/Autobiography of the Year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
On 14 February 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 of how a writer was forced underground, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team. He was asked to choose an alias that the police could call him by. He thought of writers he loved and combinations of their names; then it came to him: Conrad and Chekhov - Joseph Anton.
How do a writer and his family live with the threat of murder for over nine years? How does he go on working? How does he fall in and out of love? How does despair shape his thoughts and actions, how and why does he stumble, how does he learn to fight back? In this remarkable memoir Rushdie tells that story for the first time; the story of one of the crucial battles, in our time, for freedom of speech. He talks about the sometimes grim, sometimes comic realities of living with armed policemen, and of the close bonds he formed with his protectors; of his struggle for support and understanding from governments, intelligence chiefs, publishers, journalists, and fellow writers; and of how he regained his freedom.
It is a book of exceptional frankness and honesty, compelling, provocative, moving, and of vital importance. Because what happened to Salman Rushdie was the first act of a drama that is still unfolding somewhere in the world every day.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Where to start...

Like many of Rushdie's books I'm not sure I'm supposed to get it. Personally I feel that this is an important case for the human right of free speech. But parts did have me scratching my head.

I have heard critics attack this book for it's thinly veiled anger towards the media, politicians and Iran which I think they exaggerate. But honestly I can't blame him, I'm sure being vilified and threatened aren't key ingredients to a happy biography. However, some parts of the book came across rushed while others plodded at a glacial pace. It's bizarre how hours are spent explaining sitting in houses with police men wondering how he wished people would consider him a writer again yet the post 2001 period of the book, where he essentially became a writer again, is perhaps only 40 minuets long.

Rushdie is at least very honest and open about a great number of topics be it cancer, love, fear, anger and politics all of which appear to have had a deep effect on him. I have only just finished this book and I'm still struggling to sum it up. Rushdie is not to everybody's taste and my feeling is that if you don't like him before you read this he is unlikely to convert you. He addresses the attacks the media made on him during the early fatwa years but never really seems to dispel them all in my opinion. Perhaps I am biased but either way this book is an important one if you value free speech as we all should.
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- Thomas

Didn't want this to end!

I remember the announcement of the fatwa many years ago (when I was about 15 years old) and I really felt for Mr Rushdie at that time. Although I have never managed to read any of his other books, I was very interested in this one (having come across a few reviews). It gripped me from the start and so I decided to go for the audiobook (as I spend nearly >1 hour plus a day driving to and from work.) It's a real insight into Mr Rushdie's life during this time as a lot of his words are also from memoirs he written at that time. So many emotions throughout from heartbreaks to misery and laughing and joy. I was kind of dreading approaching the end as i didn't want it to finish...The narration and the accents are superb.
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- Anil

Book Details

  • Release Date: 18-09-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audiobooks