Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rushdie's naive beguilement

At the Guardian, Pankaj Mishra on Salman Rushdie's memoir (link courtesy of Walid):
Yet the memoir, at 650 pages, often feels too long, over-dependent on Rushdie's journals, and unquickened by hindsight, or its prose. Ostensibly deployed as a distancing device, the third-person narration frequently makes for awkward self-regard ("The clouds thickened over his head. But he found that his sentences could still form … his imagination still spark"). A peevish righteousness comes to pervade the memoir as Rushdie routinely and often repetitively censures those who criticised or disagreed with him. The long list of betrayers, carpers and timorous publishers includes Robert Gottlieb, Peter Mayer, John le Carré, Sonny Mehta, the Independent (evidently the "house journal for British Islam"), Germaine Greer, John Berger and assorted policemen "who believed he had done nothing of value in his life". Small darts are also flung at James Wood, "the malevolent Procrustes of literary criticism", Arundhati Roy, Joseph Brodsky, Louis de Bernières and many others.

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