Monday, September 18, 2017

Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991 –by Salman Rushdie

Nonfiction / Essays
439 pages / 1485 KB
5 Stars

I am not sure when, or where, I found my copy of this book. I do not know how long it sat, ignored, on my bookshelf. What I do know is, when I needed it, it was there, and literally fell into my hands. Of course I knew of Mr. Rushdie, but had never read anything by him. My education has begun.

Most of these 75 or so essays are short, some just a couple of pages, but all of them require thought while reading them, and several require thought after reading them; at least for me. As one reviewer noted, this is not a book to take to the gym. His insights on colonialism are fascinating. His insights on the Ghandis, Pakistan, cultures I knew little-to-nothing about were spell-binding. The articles about contemporary authors were not only interesting, but often humorous, and always enlightening.

But the articles in the last section were, for me, the most eye-opening. These were the ones where he discussed the fatwa against him, what he meant when he wrote The Satanic Verses, and the duplicity of the imams even when they agreed with him, shook his hand, said they would help reverse the fatwa, and didn't. What is a human life worth? What is a man's word worth? What is a friend worth?

The writing in these essays is often lyrical. It is always clear, and easily read and understood. I highly recommend this book for anyone with a curiosity about how our world, and those who inhabit it, think and work. Beautiful writing, and I can hardly wait for my copy of Step Across This Line... to arrive.

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