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East, West [Paperback]

Salman Rushdie
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

7 Sep 1995
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 fantasies hatched by Star Trek; and Christopher Columbus dreams of consummating 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: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (7 Sep 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099533014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099533016
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"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 form the maestro of the cross-cultural black-buster" (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)

Book Description

A brilliant collection of short stories from the Booker prize-winning author.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stories of the streets 21 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The question of identity; both in a geographical, cultural and personal sense, has always been at the heart of Rushdie's works, and nowhere more so, than in 'East, West'. Containing nine short stories (three from 'East', three from 'West' and three from 'East, West'), this is a book which deals with everything from immigration and religious fanaticism, to the identity of Shakespeare's Yorick, and Neil Sedaka songs; with the results ranging from sublime, to decent. The 'East' stories are of a more straightforward nature than their 'West' counterparts, but are also more successful - bringing together superb imagery, musings on tradition and religion, and creating some memorable characters; whereas the tales of 'West', whilst interesting to analyse and dissect, trip over themselves in a manner slightly too self-conscious and convoluted. That said, they still provide an interesting counterpart to the other two sections, and are far from being without merit, in and of themselves.

The final of the book's three sections, 'East, West', is definitely the book's best; especially 'The Courter', the final and longest tale, which deals primarily with the unspoken love between the brain-damaged 'Mixed-Up', and the Indian migrant 'Certainly Mary', as well as it's narrator's own teenage heartbreaks, set to a soundtrack of Sam Cooke singles and Roy Orbison's soulful vocals. Fans of Rushdie will undoubtedly find much to like in 'East, West', even if it understandably lacks some of the epicly powerful scope and oustanding characterisation seen in longer texts, such as 'Midnight's Children' and 'Shalimar the Clown'. For the uninitiated, this is also a good place to begin with Rushdie's works, a book that is readable, thought-provoking, and characteristic of Rushdie's idiosyncratic style.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A world in every sentence 8 Nov 2010
East West is a short collection of short stories by Salman Rushdie. But there is nothing small or even limited about the themes they cover, nor anything bland about the palette Rushdie uses to colour his ideas. They were published in the mid-1990s, when the writer was deep into the confines of the fatwa that threatened his life. It is thus refreshing to reflect on the wide and poignant use of humour trough the collection.

The stories are enigmatically arranged in three groups entitled East, West and East-West. They thus form a kind of triptych. In East we visit territory well known to readers of Rushdie. He is in the sub-continent, addressing notions of tradition and culture, notions that are interpreted and reinterpreted by change, personal ambition and by familial and religious associations.

In West, Salman Rushdie presents Yorick's view of Hamlet and an encounter between Catholic Isabella and her hired man, Christopher Columbus. One is fiction superimposed on fact, while the other approaches the reader from the opposite direction. Both stories turn in on themselves, reverse roles and blur the distinctions between fact and fiction.

In East-West we find people in new contexts, away from home, inhabiting places unfamiliar to them. We meet people who impose private, personal structures on a wider experience that others share. Misunderstandings create their own new language, and fiction expresses and interprets a shared reality.

But what is continually astounding about these stories is the literary style that Salman Rushdie brings to almost every sentence. The pictures he draws are surreal, even hyper-real and yet utterly mundane, even prosaic at the same time.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting, beautifully crafted stories 9 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Rushdie highlights the similarities and differences between the cultures of the Eastern and Western Worlds delightfully. Many of the stories provide a refreshing message of hope and the endings usually brought a broad, satisfied grin to my face.
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