Joseph Anton

  • by Salman Rushdie
  • Narrated by Sam Dastor, Salman Rushdie
  • 26 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 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 more than 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.
This audiobook includes a prologue read by the author.

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What the Critics Say

"In Salman Rushdie... India has produced a glittering novelist -one with startling imaginative and intellectual resources, a master of perpetual storytelling." (The New Yorker)
"Salman Rushdie has earned the right to be called one of our great storytellers." (The Observer)
"Our most exhilaratingly inventive prose stylist, a writer of breathtaking originality." (Financial Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Informative, Timely

Salman Rushdie is known for his fiction (Shame, The Moor’s Last Sigh and others), but it was The Satanic Verses which forced him into hiding and police protection. His memoir, Joseph Anton: A Memoir, tells the story of his life with particular focus on his experience following the publication of that book. Frankly, I have never finished any of Rushdie’s works of fiction and parts of this book I had to work through as well. However, the effort was well worth it because of the insights he provides into why he was forced to go underground, the full defense of his book and its literary origins, and how he finally was able to get back a modicum of normalcy. Readers also learn what it was like on a day-to-day basis to deal with living under full-time protection and what it meant to his family, career, and self-image. The book has, for me, more detail and repetition than necessary, but the emotional effect was profound. I began to identify with Rushdie and the frustrations he faced. Rushdie uses third person to tell his story, but I’ll not give away why the book is titled Joseph Anton: A Memoir. If you have an interest in what happened to Rushdie, his take on why it happened, and who Rushdie became as a result – this book is for you. A key learning? Life is not linear and circumstances will change with time – good times can turn bad; bad days may well pass from view. The narration of Rushdie and Sam Dastor is very good.
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- Lynn

Bored to death

Any additional comments?

I feel horrible giving 1 star ratings to someones true life story. It just bored me to death. I'm sure other people will enjoy the listen but it was not for me. I listened to it 3x fast and still couldn’t find one section of the book that stimulated me. I have less then ¼ to go but I just don’t think I can bare it.That being said I bought this in part to support Salman Rushdie. I have a tremendous amount sympathy and respect for him and his books, just not this one.

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- john "Love history and non-fiction. Working on reading and or listening to the top 100 classics too."

Book Details

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