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Imaginary Homelands: Essays & Criticism 1981 to 1991: Essays and Criticism, 1981 to 1991 Paperback – 14 Feb 1992

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)
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Review

"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.

Book Description

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.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
75 short essays ranging from political commentary to literary criticisms to the defense of his writings. Throughout, he explains and demonstrates the vocation of a writer and develops an understanding of art/writing that is both political and spiritual at the same time.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic piece of non-fiction. Please do yourself a favour and read it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
inclusive writing, breath of fresh air ideal for identity cultural individual learning. THANK YOU
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent example of Rushdie, do not take to gym. 10 Dec. 2006
By A. Lawrence - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent collection, you are correct about that. But it is *not* a good book to take to the gym with you.

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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 11 Sept. 2016
By Science Lover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully written, thoughtful collection of essays.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 11 Mar. 2015
By Billy Joe Crawdad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are several brilliant essays in this book and it's well worth the time
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars 24 Oct. 2014
By KS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great work, but terrible print quality in this edition.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten years bookended by euphoria and exile... 11 Jun. 2008
By ewomack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Imaginary Homelands" encapsulates some of Salman Rushdie's most potent literary "passing overs." 1981, when this collection of essays and reviews begins, witnessed the publication of Rushdie's second novel, "Midnight's Children." Unlike its stillborn predecessor, "Grimus," this thick, billowing and poignant book made his name. From advertising copywriter, to near poverty, to the Man Booker Prize. All in one action-packed year. Doubtless, Rushdie was never the same. By stark contrast, 1991, when this collection was published, found the acclaimed author literally running for his life from Ayatollah Khomeini's 1989 "Satanic Verses" fatwa. His situation grew so dire that a speech included in the book's final section, entitled "Is Nothing Sacred?" was read in absentia. Doubtless, Rushdie was never the same. A decade bookended by euphoria and exile. In between, as this thick book reveals, Rushdie's pen almost never ceased its frenetic scribbling. His thoughts meandered widely: from migration, religion, esteemed colleagues, travel, India, Pakistan, England, the United States, racism, gambling, and film. The themes he explores in his novels also manifest themselves throughout this book's twelve sections.

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.
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