- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Granta; New Ed edition (14 Feb. 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140140360
- ISBN-13: 978-0140140361
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 19.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,192,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Imaginary Homelands: Essays & Criticism 1981 to 1991: Essays and Criticism, 1981 to 1991 Paperback – 14 Feb 1992
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"Literature of the highest order" (Michael Foot)
"A book bristling with intelligence, deeply held opinions, and wonderful flights of fancy" (Boston Globe)
"Playful profound and provocative...Rushdie is never less than instructive. He holds nothing back" (New York Newsday)
"A deft, various, and humane collection" (Christopher Hitchens Independent)
"More intelligence and intellectual courage than most writers summon up in a lifetime" (The Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A collection of 75 essays that illuminate the culture of his times, and of ours. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Even though the criticisms and essays are short, they require a bit of thought while reading. So you can't really pick it up and put it down while trying to run on a treadmill or likewise.
I do recommend this book if you would like to get a feel for Rushdie and don't want to take on a full novel. I also recommend, "The Wizard of Oz (Bfi Film Classics) (Paperback)". It is a critique he wrote for Bfi and it's a fast read.
The book's title essay discusses exile from country and culture and the alienation of the dislocated writer. The past remains elusive enough, never mind the half-remembered mores and social codes of one's lost homeland. These themes remain fundamental to Rushdie's work. After excoriating the murder of Indira Gandhi, adumbrating the Nehru-Gandhi "dynasty" (still discussed today in the Indian press), the discussion moves, briefly, to pros and cons of Pakistan. Resurgence of British imperialist ideology during the Thatcher years disturbs Rushdie in the scathing "Outside the Whale" and "Attenborough's Gandhi." On similar lines, "The New Empire Within Britain," apparently a transcript of a widely distributed videotape, deconstructs British racism. The bulk of the book comprises numerous literary reviews, most of which run between 2 to 5 pages. While streaming through these, readers will learn that Rushdie loved, among other things, Ishiguro's "Remains of the Day," Calvino's work in general, Márquez's "Chronicle of a Death Foretold," and Pynchon's "Vineland." Also, perhaps more interestingly, readers will discover that Rushdie did not particularly care for, among other things, Le Carré's "The Russia House," Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum" ("I hated it," he spews), Vargas Llosa's "The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta," Vonnegut's "Hocus Pocus," and Naipaul's "Among the Believers." The reviews read quickly, but the longer essays require more concentration. One of these, "In God We Trust," examines voluminous topics, including the religious versus the nationalistic atmosphere of 1990, the emergence of "reality" from imagination, and the creeping malaise of the United States. Here he digs deep.
Arguably, the book's most memorable piece, the one that will stick to people's psyches, is "In Good Faith." In almost 20 pages Rushdie defends "The Satanic Verses" against charges of insolence, literary brutality, and heresy. Along the way he discusses many of the book's themes, symbols, and intended meanings. He likens the controversy to a monstrous category mistake. Frustration, confusion, and agony bubble from every sentence. Intense stuff. And for the final show, the big closer, the book's edition makes quite a difference. Hardcover printings end with the essay "Why I Have Embraced Islam." Rushdie later deemed this too conciliatory and the very delayed paperback release dumped this piece in favor of the far less toadying "One Thousand Days in a Balloon." Given his situation in 1991, with threats flying from every corner, no one should blame him for the earlier piece's desperate tone. But new editions bring new perspectives, and "Imaginary Homelands" contains perspectives, insights, and entertainment in droves. An apt companion to Rushdie's literary work, this collection will help illuminate one of today's most important - and courageous - authors.