In many ways, the British Indian writer Salman Rushdie is the example of a modern writer, his language affected by the global mish-mash that the English language has become. But we as readers are not complaining, it is a delightful mix that Rushdie’s writing flows with, among other sub-layers.
The 1947-born Rushdie’s first book was the part science-fiction novel Grimus (1975).The book didn’t make much of an impact, but Rushdie stormed into the scene with Midnight’s Children (1981), and was judged the ‘Booker of Bookers’ in 1993 and 2008 to commemorate the Booker Prize’s 25th and 40th anniversary respectively. Magic realism emerged as a major element in this work to be repeated again in his third novel – Shame (1983).
His fourth novel - The Satanic Verses (1988) also won praise and awards but subsequently changed his life for worse. On Valentine’s Day 1989, the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued fatwa, a death sentence against Rushdie for allegedly mocking the Muslim religion through the book. The British writer Rushdie has since lived in hiding, under protection. It took seven more years for Rushdie to publish his next major work - The Moor’s Last Sign (1995). In many ways the book reflected Rushdie’s life with magic realism and a narrator over whom death is constantly looming.
Other novels, short story collections, memoirs and children’s books have followed - Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990), Fury (2001), Shalimar the Clown (2005), The Enchantress of Florence (2008) and recently - a memoir written in the third person Joseph Anton: A Memoir (2012). We wish Rushdie a long and pleasurable literary career.
(Salman Rushdie turns 66 on June 19, 2013)