Joseph Anton

A Memoir

Publisher: Vintage Canada

From the author of The Satanic Verses and Midnight’s Children, which was awarded the Best of the Booker Prize in 1993, comes an unflinchingly honest and fiercely funny account of a life turned upside-down.

On Valentine’s Day, 1989, Salman Rushdie received a telephone call from a BBC journalist that would change his life forever: Ayatollah Khomeini, a leading Muslim scholar, had issued him with a death sentence. This is his own account of how he was forced to live in hiding for over a decade; at once intimate and explosive, this is the personal tale behind the international story.

How does a man live with the constant threat of murder? How does he continue to work when deprived of his freedom? How does he sustain friendships, or fall in and out of love? How does he fight back? For over a decade, Salman Rushdie dwelt in a world of secrecy and disguise, a world of security guards and armoured cars, of aliases and code names. 

In Joseph Anton, Rushdie tells the remarkable story of one of the crucial battles, in our time, for freedom of speech.




“An often-gripping account of a life turned upside down, and of a writer forced to confront the unintended consequences of his life’s work.” National Post
“A memoir…that reminds us of his fecund gift for language and his talent for explicating the psychological complexities of family and identity.... A harrowing, deeply felt and revealing document: an autobiographical mirror of the big, philosophical preoccupations that have animated Mr. Rushdie’s work throughout his career.” Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times Book Review

“A fast-paced…monument so impressive it threatens to overshadow all the mere fictions on which his considerable reputation currently rests…. In the spectacular collision that is Joseph Anton…a great writer treats great events with unmatchable authority. And zest…. [Joseph Anton]  could well prove to be the masterwork that survives long after the mere fictions have faded, as most are fated to do.” The Globe and Mail

“Joseph Anton
is wonderful: as much a meditation on life, liberty and the pursuit of truth as an engrossing memoir.” Maclean’s
“Brutally honest and profound.” The Guardian
“Joseph Anton
is a splendid book, the finest new memoir to cross my desk in many a year.” Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post