Salman Rushdie’s life story would make for a cracking read even if he, a man knighted for his services to literature, hadn’t been the one to pen it. This is a life that has included writing some of the English language’s finest novels, dating models, being sentenced to death by the Ayatollah, and narrowly escaping being named after a fish.
But Joseph Anton, the story of Rushdie’s life, was in fact penned by Rushdie himself. It’s also out now in paperback, which is why he’ll speak and sign books this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Miami Dade College Chapman Conference Center (245 NE Fourth St., Miami).
Much of what Joseph Anton covers is the period of nearly a decade after that rascally Ayatollah placed a fatwa on Rushdie and commanded his followers to find and kill him. His crime was purported blasphemy against Islam in passages in his novel The Satanic Verses, and the fatwa meant Rushdie and his family had to go into hiding and maintain a constant security detail. Yeah, sure, he popped up onstage during a U2 concert in London, but no one could really be sure he wasn’t one of those guys in the band who isn’t Bono or the Edge. Rushdie also assumed the name “Joseph Anton” while living underground during the global manhunt led by Iran. Don’t worry, though — things eventually worked out for Rushdie, unless it turns out the Rushdie we think we know is an impostor stooge from Tehran. It could be worth asking about during the Q&A.
It’s a strange, harrowing, and hopeful memoir written in an unconventional way. Therefore, it’s not surprising that rather than just read and do a Q&A — and maybe to avoid the impostor question — Rushdie will be in conversation with Books & Books founder Mitchell Kaplan, a man without whom most Miamians would be doomed to fatal illiteracy, their skeletons heaped in front of automatic sliding doors marked “Exit Only.”
Thu., Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m., 2013