Joseph Anton: A Memoir by Salman RushdieJoseph Anton: A Memoir by Salman Rushdie

Joseph Anton: A Memoir

bySalman Rushdie

Hardcover | October 17, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 175 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Special Offer

Out of stock online

Available in stores


On February 14, 1986, Valentine’s Day, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told that he had been “sentenced to death” by the Ayatollah Khomeini, a voice reaching across the world from Iran to kill him in his own country. For the first time he heard the word fatwa. His crime? To have written a novel called The Satanic Verses, which was accused of being “against Islam, the Prophet, and the Quran.”
So begins the extraordinary, often harrowing story—filled too with surreal and funny moments—of how a writer was forced underground, moved from house to house, an armed police protection team living with him at all times for more than nine years. He was asked to choose an alias that the police could call him by. He thought of writers he loved and combinations of their names; then it came to him: Conrad and Chekhov—Joseph Anton. He became “Joe.”
How do a writer and his young family live day by day with the threat of murder for so long? How do you go on working? How do you keep love and joy alive? How does despair shape your thoughts and actions, how and why do you stumble, how do you learn to fight for survival? In this remarkable memoir, Rushdie tells that story for the first time. He talks about the sometimes grim, sometimes comic realities of living with armed policemen, and of the close bonds he formed with his protectors; of his struggle for support and understanding from governments, intelligence chiefs, publishers, journalists, and fellow writers; of friendships (literary and otherwise) and love; and of how he regained his freedom.
This is a book of exceptional frankness and honesty, compelling, moving, provocative, not only captivating as a revelatory memoir but of vital importance in its political insight and wisdom. Because it is also a story of today’s battle for intellectual liberty; of why literature matters; and of a man’s refusal to be silenced in the face of state-sponsored terrorism. And because we now know that what happened to Salman Rushdie was the first act of a drama that would rock the whole world on September 11th and is still unfolding somewhere every day.

SALMAN RUSHDIE is the author of eleven previous novels--Luka and the Fire of Life, Grimus, Midnight's Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, and The Enchantress of Flor...
Title:Joseph Anton: A MemoirFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:656 pages, 9.47 × 6.6 × 1.58 inShipping dimensions:9.47 × 6.6 × 1.58 inPublished:October 17, 2016Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307401367

ISBN - 13:9780307401366



Rated 4 out of 5 by from A look into a very unusual life situation Fun at times, and heart-breaking at others, "Joseph Anton" held my interest throughout. It's hard to believe what Salman Rushdie went through, and how difficult it was for his own government to stand up against the tyranny of a few religious extremists. I'm glad that Salman can live in relative freedom today.
Date published: 2014-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from To Fill in the Blanks Joseph Anton, the nom de guerre for Salman Rushdie during his years under police protection, is the answer for those of us who wondered and worried about Rushdie after the ayatollah Khomeini put a price on his head in 1989. Unable to comprehend that artistic license & critical thought could be turned toward the Islamic faith and its prophet, Mohamed, Khomeini declared a 'fatwa' on Rushdie after the publication of his novel, "The Satanic Verses." The threat posed by this state sponsored terrorism forced the British government, reluctantly it would seem, to provide protection and began a thirteen year game of 'hide & seek' which ended without anyone penetrating the screen. Not that there weren't casualties; three well documented attacks left one translator dead, another wounded and a third publishing executive seriously injured. Rushdie's account of his ordeal is a good example of courage. Not the lack of fear, but rather the refusal to allow fear to stop him from living his life on his own terms (with one moment of weakness which he immediately regrets & spends an enormous effort to correct). This memoir will appeal to anyone who enjoys Rushdie's fiction or essays. Definitely not your typical tour through the world oh arts and letters.
Date published: 2013-09-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mesmerizing An amazing look at an author's struggle with maintaining a sense of self & freedom through a sheltered period of time
Date published: 2013-01-04

Editorial Reviews

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLERINTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER NOMINEE 2012 – Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-FictionFINALIST 2013 – James Tait Black Prize“An often-gripping account of a life turned upside down, and of a writer forced to confront the unintended consequences of his life’s work.” —National Post “A memoir…that reminds us of his fecund gift for language and his talent for explicating the psychological complexities of family and identity…. A harrowing, deeply felt and revealing document: an autobiographical mirror of the big, philosophical preoccupations that have animated Mr. Rushdie’s work throughout his career.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Book Review“A fast-paced…monument so impressive it threatens to overshadow all the mere fictions on which his considerable reputation currently rests…. In the spectacular collision that is Joseph Anton…a great writer treats great events with unmatchable authority. And zest…. [Joseph Anton]  could well prove to be the masterwork that survives long after the mere fictions have faded, as most are fated to do.” —The Globe and Mail“Joseph Anton is wonderful: as much a meditation on life, liberty and the pursuit of truth as an engrossing memoir.” —Maclean’s “Brutally honest and profound.” —The Guardian “Joseph Anton is a splendid book, the finest new memoir to cross my desk in many a year.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post