Saturday, January 12, 2013

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

from Joseph Anton: A Memoir by Salman Rushdie:

The step backward, when it came, took him completely by surprise. Clarissa was healthier by the day, and excited about her new job, and Zafar’s schoolwork was improving with his mother’s health, and his confidence grew every week. Then in mid-March she called to say that she had been thinking, and had also been advised, that she needed more money. (When they divorced he had lacked the funds to make a clean-break settlement, and had been paying her a mixture of alimony and child support for ten years.) Her lawyers told her she could get huge amounts, she said, admitting for the first time that lawyers were involved, but she would accept £150,000. “Okay,” he said. “You win. £150,000. Okay.” It was a lot of money, but that wasn’t it. Hostility, like love, came at you from the direction you weren’t looking in. He had not expected her to pursue him after all these years, after his immense concern for her during her illness, after his behind-the-scenes efforts on her behalf at A. P. Watt and the Arts Council. (In fairness, she didn’t know about those phone calls.) There was no concealing from Zafar the sudden strain between his mother and father. The boy was very worried, but insisted on knowing what was going on. Zafar was almost sixteen, and watching both his parents fiercely. It was impossible to keep the truth from him.

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