East, West

East, West

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In these nine stories Salman Rushdie looks at what happens when East meets West, at the forces that pull his characters first in one direction, then the other. Fantasy and realism collide as a rickshaw driver writes letters describing his film star career in Bombay; a mispronunciation leads to romance and an unusual courtship in sixties London; two childhood friends turned diplomats live out in a violent world fantasies hatched by STAR TREK; and Christopher Columbus dreams of cunsummating his relationship with Queen Isabella. The stories in EAST, WEST show the extraordinary range and power of Salman Rushdie's writing.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 134 x 214 x 20mm | 260g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099533014
  • 9780099533016
  • 68,328

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A rickshaw driver dreams of being a Bombay movie star; Indian diplomats, who as childhood friends hatched Star Trek fantasies, must boldly go into a hidden universe of conspiracy and violence; and Hamlet's jester is caught up in murderous intrigues. In Rushdie's hybrid world, an Indian guru can be a redheaded Welshman, while Christopher Columbus is an immigrant, dreaming of Western glory. Rushdie allows himself, like his characters, to be pulled now in one direction, then in another. Yet he remains a writer who insists on our cultural complexity; who, rising beyond ideology, refuses to choose between East and West and embraces the world.

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Review quote

"A vindication of the rights of fiction...His story-telling powers are alive and well - his ingenuity, wit, charm and his restless talent for the unexpected" Sunday Times "Literary magic" Literary Review "The most original imagination writing today" Nadine Gordimer "Scheherazade meets Star Trek in these well-honed miniatures from the maestro of the cross-cultural blockbuster" Independent "Home in neither, but poised somewhere in between - Salman Rushdie's volume of short stories on this theme is deft, inventive, entertaining" Financial Times

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About Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie is the author of seven novels: Grimus, Midnight's Children (which was awarded the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Prize), Shame (winner of the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger), The Satanic Verses (winner of the Whitbread Prize for best novel), Haroun and the Sea of Stories (winner of the Writer's Guild Award), The Moor's Last Sigh and The Ground Beneath Her Feet. He has also published a collection of short stories, East, West; a book of reportage, The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey; a volume of essays, Imaginary Homelands; and a work of film criticism, 'The Wizard of Oz'. Salman Rushdie was awarded Germany's Author of the Year award for his novel The Satanic Verses in 1989. In 1993, Midnight's Children was adjudged the 'Booker of Bookers', the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. In the same year he was awarded the Austrian Stat Prize for European Literature. He is also an Honorary Professor in the Humaities at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His books have been published in more than two dozen languages.

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Review Text

Nine stories, six of which have been previously published, that successfully explore the tensions and confusions that so often muddle relations between East and West. Divided into three groups, the stories are a reminder that Rushdie (Haroun and the Sea of Stories, 1991, etc.), the accomplished postmodern fabulist, is also a splendid realist storyteller who describes the human heart with clear-eyed sympathy. Grouped under the heading "EAST," the first trio describes an encounter between a young Pakistani woman and an advice expert, who doesn't understand why the young woman is happy when the British Consulate rejects her application to join her aging fiance in England ("Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies"); a poor young man, who has "the rare quality of total belief in his dreams" of moviedom success and who is sterilized because he believes the Indian government will give him a free radio ("The Free Radio"); and two children who try to have their greedy father robbed of a precious religious relic he is determined to add to his collection ("The Prophet's Hair"). Of the three stories in "WEST," the most accomplished is "At the Auction of the Ruby Slippers," which describes a world where auctioneers "establish the value of our pasts, of our futures, of our lives" as they auction off movie memorabilia and cultural icons that help us be what "we fear we are not - somebody." The stories in the final section, "EAST, WEST," are all set in England. A young Indian learns too late of a betrayal by a now-dead English friend ("The Harmony of the Spheres"); two Indian diplomats, Star Trek fans and old school chums, have a prophetic conversation while posted in England ("Chekov and Zulu"); and a young Indian, recalling the unlikely friendship between his ayah and an elderly chess player in London, refuses to choose between East and West ("The Courter"). A product of both worlds, Rushdie builds a safe passage over the seemingly unbridgeable with generous insight and wry humor in this distinguished collection. (Kirkus Reviews)

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