Review by Choice Review
This collection of essays (all by specialists in South Asian studies, all teaching in Western universities) is divided into two parts. The first part (four essays) deals with "themes and issues" in Rushdie's fiction; the other (eight essays) examines his major texts in chronological order. The book begins with a valuable chronology that records Rushdie's early occupations (advertising, publishing), his four marriages, his vagabond life, the many prizes and awards he has received, and, of course, the fatwa Ayatollah Khomeini declared against him in 1989. All but one of the essays celebrate Rushdie's break with Islamic fundamentalism and his cosmopolitan values, which yield a sense of hybridity or mongrelization permeating postmodern culture. The one exception is the final essay by Anshuman Mondal, who scolds Rushdie for apparently acquiescing to global capitalism (if not fundamentalist Christianity) as a legitimate alternative to anarchy. Most readers will welcome the book's survey of Rushdie's stylistic originality, blending oriental content with Western fictional forms; others may object to the essayists' indifference/insensitivity to the perilous confrontation between Islamic and Christian beliefs (however secularized). Rushdie's pulverized postmodern world, populated by characters with outlandish proper names, is not an inviting place. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. D. H. Stewart emeritus, Texas A&M University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.