The Affair That Won’t Go Away


For Salman Rushdie, the “affair” is over. When he walks into a Notting Hill restaurant, his eyes do not scan the room for signs of danger. The other diners do not wolf down their meals and scuttle for the exit, in case today is the day when the bomber gets through. They treat the entrance of a writer, who once could not move without a posse of suspicious security guards, as an unremarkable event.

Rushdie is fine. More than fine, actually: he’s flourishing. Deepa Mehta has filmed Midnight’s Children. Rushdie has written the script, so if viewers wish to protest that the film diminishes, trivialises or otherwise fails to match the glittering standards of his masterpiece they must direct their complaints to him. A US cable network has commissioned him to write a sci-fi series and, like so many others, Rushdie relishes the space and freedom American television gives to dramatists.

The terror, which once dominated his life and the lives of everyone associated with his work, is history now. When Ayatollah Khomeini ordered Muslims to kill him for his blasphemies, Julian Barnes gave him a shrewd piece of advice. However many attempts were made on his life and lives of his translators and publishers, however many times Special Branch moved him from safe house to safe house, he must not allow the “Rushdie affair” to turn him into an obsessive.
Carry on reading

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