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Adam Gopnik, 23 May 1996

The Scandal of Pleasure 
by Wendy Steiner.
Chicago, 263 pp., £19.95, January 1996, 0 226 77223 3
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... of Mapplethorpe with a whip inserted into his anus is reproduced in evidence) to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, to the way the exposé of Paul de Man’s early anti-Semitic writings has been used to discredit his literary criticism. These examples sprout sub-examples, often weirdly illustrated with helpful photographs. To bolster the uncontroversial ...

New Mortality

John Harvey, 5 November 1981

The Hotel New Hampshire 
by John Irving.
Cape, 401 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 224 01961 9
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The Villa Golitsyn 
by Piers Paul Read.
Secker, 193 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 436 40968 2
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Funeral Games 
by Mary Renault.
Murray, 257 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 7195 3883 1
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The Cupboard 
by Rose Tremain.
Macdonald, 251 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 03 540476 0
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... fiction has been. What else is Kafka’s Metamorphosis? And Grass, Marquez and, most recently, Salman Rushdie work to a similar conception. Possibly, in being playfully aware that it is dreamlike, The Hotel New Hampshire takes dreaming too lightly, like those dream-films where, at the end of the story, someone ‘wakes up’ – something that could ...

Dual Loyalty

Victor Mallet, 5 December 1991

The Samson Option: Israel, America and the Bomb 
by Seymour Hersh.
Faber, 256 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 571 16619 9
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Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the US-Israeli Covert Relationship 
by Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn.
Bodley Head, 423 pp., £17.99, January 1991, 0 370 31405 0
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... the late Ayatollah Khomeini’s idea of justice and sympathise with his call for the death of Salman Rushdie. Norman Tebbit would doubtless use it for immigrants who fail what he called the cricket test (‘Which side do they cheer for?’). Yet the Israeli-American connection is fraught with particular emotional and political ...

That which is spoken

Marina Warner, 8 November 1990

The Virago Book of Fairy-Tales 
edited by Angela Carter.
Virago, 242 pp., £12.99, October 1990, 1 85381 205 6
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Sisters and Strangers: A Moral Tale 
by Emma Tennant.
Grafton, 184 pp., £12.95, July 1990, 0 246 13429 1
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... to fashion, and didacticism has ceased to be considered a grave fault in a writer of fiction. Salman Rushdie has written Haroun, an allegory in the form of a fairy-tale; Emma Tennant also strikes a deliberate nursery note with Sisters and Strangers, with Grandmother Dummer (dumber than a goose?) as narrator and two little girls as her ...

Paul and Penny

Julian Symons, 25 October 1990

Paul Scott: A Life 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hutchinson, 429 pp., £16.99, October 1990, 0 09 173984 5
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Paul Scott’s Raj 
by Robin Moore.
Heinemann, 246 pp., £18.50, October 1990, 0 434 47588 2
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... of critical reactions to the Quartet (mostly admiring) and the TV serial (predictably hostile from Salman Rushdie, surprisingly so in one or two other cases). In later years Scott was scathing about his first novel Johnnie Sahib (1952), but its stiff-upper-lip romanticism, competent yet curiously colourless portrayal of military men, and homosexual ...

Pine Trees and Vices

John Bayley, 9 April 1992

The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales 
edited by Chris Baldick.
Oxford, 533 pp., £16.95, March 1992, 0 19 214194 5
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... Post-Modern author, Angela Carter uses the Gothic in the cause of political correctness, rather as Salman Rushdie and the Magic Realists have done with their related genre. In one sense, this is historically as well as politically correct, for the Gothic tale always contrasted by implication a doomed and ancient tyranny with ongoing modern enlightenment ...


Julian Barnes: Burning Letters, 7 July 1988

... Manuscripts, recently published by the British Library.* I share the phrase with Timothy Mo, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro and Craig ‘Hurricane’ Raine; also with William Boyd, who, unlike the rest of us, adds of his manucripts that he ‘would be “very reluctant” to allow any access to them’. (This sounds pretty suspicious – what’s ...

Impressions of Nietzsche

Keith Kyle, 27 July 1989

The Lives of Enoch Powell 
by Patrick Cosgrave.
Bodley Head, 518 pp., £16, April 1989, 0 370 30871 9
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... the period we have now reached that he was looking forward. If there is no river of foaming blood, Salman Rushdie is in hiding for fear of his life because of the apparent unassimilability of Muslim communities in a society which places a high value on freedom of expression. The argument that immigration is not a matter of race but of numbers can now be ...


C.K. Stead, 10 June 1993

Remembering Babylon 
by David Malouf.
Chatto, 200 pp., £14.99, May 1993, 0 7011 5883 2
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... poetic and elliptical ... a world novel in every sense to rank alongside the best of Coetzee, Salman Rushdie ... and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’. Does Malouf deserve such backers – and perhaps the Booker as well? Maybe he does; maybe they all deserve one another. Here are his final paragraphs: Out beyond the flatlands the line of light pulses and ...

Multiple Kingdoms

Linda Colley: The origins of the British Empire, 19 July 2001

The Ideological Origins of the British Empire 
by David Armitage.
Cambridge, 239 pp., £35, September 2000, 0 521 59081 7
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... arguments have become immensely fashionable again and even radical, but only in certain quarters. Salman Rushdie might almost have been quoting from Seeley when he remarked, some time ago, that the problem with the English was that so much of their history ‘happened overseas … that they don’t know what it means’. As this suggests, one reason ...


Andrew O’Hagan: A City of Prose, 4 August 2005

... that expanse, but it was to those rooms, with their windows looking down on Tavistock Square, that Salman Rushdie once delivered his review of Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and where it was edited, cared for, ‘washed and ironed’, as the editors would say. ‘Why,’ he wrote, ‘should we bother with Calvino, a word-juggler, a fantasist, in an age in ...


Dave Haslam, 20 July 1995

The Black Album 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, March 1995, 0 571 15086 1
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The Faber Book of Pop 
edited by Hanif Kureishi and Jon Savage.
Faber, 813 pp., £16.99, May 1995, 0 571 16992 9
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... local mosque and led by Riaz. Kureishi sets The Black Album in 1989, the year of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. It’s the burning of that book, never mentioned by name, that forces Shahid ‘to take sides’. Kureishi’s depiction of the fundamentalists is confused, however. Despite Riaz’s obvious status in the community and his dispensing of ...

Half-Timbering, Homosexuality and Whingeing

Ian Sansom: Julian Barnes, 1 October 1998

England, England 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 272 pp., £15.99, September 1998, 0 224 05275 6
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... a place to channel all that unrequited love, and was ‘learning to be sustained by it’, while Salman Rushdie (‘Crash: Was the fatal accident a cocktail of death and desire?’) announced that ‘it has all been so disturbingly novelistic, and the novel I’m thinking of isn’t a fairy tale ... I’m thinking of J.G. Ballard’s Crash.’ Writing ...

‘I worry a bit, Joanne’

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘The Casual Vacancy’, 25 October 2012

The Casual Vacancy 
by J.K. Rowling.
Little, Brown, 503 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 4087 0420 2
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... the direction of genre travel is usually the other way round, with established novelists such as Salman Rushdie or Jeanette Winterson trying their hand at work for a younger age group, but it’s hardly a binding rule. In other ways it seems perverse. What can top the experience of capturing a global audience, made up mainly of readers for whom your ...


Elaine Showalter: At the Modern Language Association , 9 February 1995

... authors, meetings of over a hundred allied organisations such as the Edith Wharton Society (a Salman Rushdie Society had its formative meeting), a book exhibit, business meetings, and the annual job market. As usual, some flamboyantly-titled papers attracted the press, but after several years in which the MLA came under steady ridicule and attack ...

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