|Author Salman Rushdie|
In a world where the black birds of hatred have felled colossal towers, threatened cartoonists with murder and attacked embassies over a film preview, Salman Rushdie’s years under the fatwa, a death warrant ordered by the Ayatollah Khomeini on Feb. 14, 1989, may not seem extraordinary. The fact that living under the shadow of terror in the name of religion, of cross-border assaults on freedom of expression, is now regarded as close to normal speaks worrying volumes about the world we now inhabit.
It wasn’t always so, and a brilliant new book by Rushdie takes us down into the heart of darkness, a portrait of the artist as a victim of state-sponsored terror as mullahs and religious zealots called for murder over his novel, The Satanic Verses, which in their interpretation of it had blasphemed against the Prophet Mohammed and insulted Islam. Joseph Anton — the pseudonym Rushdie would use during his years in hiding under police protection — is a story of intolerance, anger, fear and betrayal, but also courage, resilience, love and friendship, in a decade-long battle between the forces of repression and freedom.
|The book, US edition|
My book review, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.