Monday, December 31, 2012

the last book I ever read (Salman Rushdie's Joseph Anton, excerpt three)

from Joseph Anton: A Memoir by Salman Rushdie:

He had left university in June 1968. Midnight’s Children was published in April 1981. It took him almost thirteen years just to begin. During that time he wrote unbearable amounts of garbage. There was a novel, “The Book of the Peer,” that might have been good if he had known how to write it. It was the story of holy man, a pir or peer, in a country like Pakistan, who was used by three other men, a military leader, a political leader, and a capitalist, to lead a coup after which, they believed, he would be the figurehead while they wielded the power. But he proved more capable and ruthless than his backers and they realized they had unleashed a monster they could not control. This was many years before the Ayatollah Khomeini ate the revolution whose figurehead he was supposed to be. If the novel had been written plainly, as a political thriller, it might have served; instead the story was told in several different characters’ “streams of consciousness,” and was more or less incomprehensible. Nobody liked it. It came nowhere near publication. It was a stillbirth.

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