From one of the great novelists of our day, a vital, brilliant new book of essays, speeches and articles essential for our times.
Step Across This Line showcases the other side of one of fiction’s most astonishing conjurors. On display is Salman Rushdie’s incisive, thoughtful and generous mind, in prose that is as entertaining as it is topical. The world is here, captured in pieces on a dazzling array of subjects: from New York’s Amadou Diallo case to the Wizard of Oz , from U2 to fifty years of Indian writing, from a tribute to Angela Carter to the struggle to film Midnight’s Children. The title essay was originally delivered at Yale as the 2002 Tanner lecture on human values, and examines the changing meaning of frontiers in the modern world -- moral and metaphorical frontiers as well as physical ones.
The collection chronicles Rushdie’s intellectual journeys, but it is also an intimate invitation into his life: he explores his relationship to India through a moving diary of his first visit there in over a decade, “A Dream of Glorious Return.” Step Across This Line also includes “Messages From the Plague Years,” a historic set of letters, articles and reflections on life under the fatwa. Gathered together for the first time, this is Rushdie’s humane, intelligent and angry response to a grotesque threat, aimed not just at him but at free expression itself.
Step Across This Line, Salman Rushdie’s first collection of non-fiction in a decade, has the same energy, imagination and erudition as his astounding novels -- along with some very strong opinions.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Step Across This Line|
|Release Date: 09-10-2002|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Step Across This Line
From Part I: Essays
Out of Kansas
I wrote my first short story in Bombay at the age of ten. Its title was "Over the Rainbow." It amounted to a dozen or so pages, was dutifully typed up by my father's secretary on flimsy paper, and was eventually lost somewhere along my family's mazy journeyings between India, England, and Pakistan. Shortly before my father's death in 1987, he claimed to have found a copy moldering in an old file, but despite my pleadings he never produced it. I've often wondered about this incident. Maybe he never really found the story, in which case he had succumbed to the lure of fantasy, and this was the last of the many fairy tales he told me. Or else he did find it, and hugged it to himself as a talisman and a reminder of simpler times, thinking of it as his treasure, not mine-his pot of nostalgic, parental gold.
I don't remember much about the story. It was about a ten-year-old Bombay boy who one day happens upon the beginning of a rainbow, a place as elusive as any pot-of-gold end zone, and as rich in promise. The rainbow is broad, as wide as the sidewalk, and constructed like a grand staircase. Naturally, the boy begins to climb. I have forgotten almost everything about his adventures, except for an encounter with a talking pianola whose personality is an improbable hybrid of Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, and the "playback singers" of the Hindi movies, many of which made The Wizard of Oz look like kitchen-sink realism.
My bad memory-what my mother would call a "forgettery"-is probably a blessing. Anyway, I remember what matters. I remember that The Wizard of Oz (the film, not the book, which I did...