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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:
Publisher's Note — May 16, 2013, 11:55 am
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, why did so few people protest the decision to lock down parts of the city?
Publisher's Note — April 18, 2013, 11:48 am
Where were the voices of conscience on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War?
Publisher's Note — March 21, 2013, 1:37 pm
Vague talk about the middle class, and plenty for big business
Lucas Mann on hope and change in a minor-league-baseball city
Minimum number of baboons forced to smoke crack in a 1989 study testing the efficacy of cigarettes as a drug delivery device:
A reduction in distrust toward atheists was documented among pious Canadians who are reminded of the Vancouver police.
A Missouri cinema apologized for hiring an actor dressed in body armor and carrying a fake rifle to appear at a screening of Iron Man 3.
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Winner of the 2012 Olivier Rebbot Award for best photographic reporting from abroad in magazines or books