#81 — Joseph Anton: A Memoir

Joseph Anton: A Memoir by Salman Rushdie
Rating: 1/5
  • It started strangely for a memoir — it was narrated in the third person. The only memoir I’ve read that did that was Three Cups of Tea. That whole situation ended very badly for that author (and was so awful that I didn’t get past the first 5 pages), so I was a bit worried it would be a similar experience
  • Some of the worry was warranted; there’s a very long blow by blow of the negative attention generated by Satanic Verses, and all of the people who wronged him during that time
  • Without a doubt, receiving death threats and a police detail is terrifying and disruptive. However, I felt that something was lost when the story was told in third person… while I understand that Joseph Anton feels like a fake self to Rushdie, it’s also a way to detach from the situation, which made it hard to connect with. He is a very unlikable
  • Much of the writing is boring, except he is very eloquent and specific in his hatred for his (ex-)wives — he points out that his partners all had mommy/daddy issues. However, reading descriptions of his own childhood should make him realize that he should look at himself first, realize the similarities in his own life with theirs, and ask why he was attracted to people like that to begin with
  • I bought Midnight’s Children in a Michigan bookstore in 2003 (receipt is still inside the book). I have started and stopped reading Midnight’s Children many times, as I found it hard to read. The style of writing between the two books are vastly different. There is an explanation of this in the memoir, which made me want to make another attempt at it