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“One hundred pages into his absorbing new memoir, written entirely in the third person, Salman Rushdie declares that ‘Friendship had always been of great importance to him,’ since so much of his life had been spent separated, physically and emotionally, from his own family. ‘Friends,’ writes Rushdie, ‘were the family one chose.’
“The conceit of third person remove can be annoying, but I understand why the author chose it for Joseph Anton, the title of the book and Rushdie’s assumed name during his long period in hiding after the Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced him to death. As author of the allegedly blasphemous novel The Satanic Verses, Rushdie’s unhappy tale required telling through another character, since his own identity — his very life — had been stolen, first by the reactionary Iranian theocracy that wanted him punished and then by the liberal western establishment which purported to defend him but wasn’t always up to the job.
“What I don’t understand, however, is Rushdie’s choice of ‘friends’, or at least his notion of what constitutes friendship in a crisis. And as his early supporter and publisher, I feel it’s important to correct and enlarge his narrative, in the name of accuracy but also in the name of friends and colleagues, unmentioned in Joseph Anton, who stuck their necks out for him when it wasn’t so easy to do . . .”
—From “The Friends Rushdie Forgot,” in the September 2012 issue of The Spectator. Subscribers to The Spectator can read more here.
More from John R. MacArthur:
Conversation — September 20, 2016, 1:59 pm
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Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Average exam score, in a SUNY-Fredonia study, for students who only listened to a podcast of their professor’s lecture:
Boys in Taiwan are likelier than girls to vomit in order to lose weight.
Hundreds of women in yoga pants marched through Barrington, Rhode Island, to defend their right to wear the garment, and Trump vowed to sue every woman accusing him of sexual assault. “I look so forward to doing that,” he said.
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"She never thanked me, never looked at me—melted away into the miserable night, in the strangest manner I ever saw. I have seen many strange things, but not one that has left a deeper impression on my memory than the dull impassive way in which that worn-out heap of misery took that piece of money, and was lost."