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The essays, speeches, and opinion pieces assembled in Step Across This Line, written over the last ten years, cover an astonishing range of subjects. The collection chronicles Rushdie’s intellectual odyssey and is also an especially personal look into the writer’s psyche.
With the same fierce intelligence, uncanny social commentary, and very strong opinions that distinguish his fiction, Rushdie writes about his fascination with The Wizard of Oz, his obsession with soccer, and the state of the novel, among many other topics. Most notably, delving into his unique personal experience fighting the Iranian fatwa, he addresses the subject of militant Islam in a series of challenging and deeply felt responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The book ends with the eponymous “Step Across This Line,” a lecture Rushdie delivered at Yale in the spring of 2002 and which is sure to prompt discussion.
Rushdie’s first collection of nonfiction, Imaginary Homelands, offered a unique vision of politics, literature, and culture for the 1980s. Step Across This Line does the same and more for the last decade of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first.
“[Rushdie’s] turns and words are frequently exhilarating. There is . . . lilting pleasure in the collection.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Sometimes pensive, sometimes marvelously funny, always lucid essays, reviews, and occasional pieces by the renowned Anglo-Indian novelist.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Step Across This Line . . . became my favorite reading this summer. . . . [Rushdie’s essays] mostly celebrate the blurriness of our characters, whether national, religious, or personal, often taking a smudge stick to such boundaries."
—Mary Karr, author of Cherry and The Liars’ Club
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Out of Kansas
The Best of Young British Novelists
Arthur Miller at Eighty
In Defense of the Novel, Yet Again
Notes on Writing and the Nation
Adapting Midnight's Children
In the Voodoo Lounge
Rock Music—A Sleeve Note
An Alternative Career
On Leavened Bread
On Being Photographed
The People's Game
A Commencement Address
"Imagine There's No Heaven"
"Damme, This Is the Oriental Scene for You!"
India's Fiftieth Anniversary
The Taj Mahal
A Dream of Glorious Return
II. MESSAGES FROM THE PLAGUE YEARS
December 1998: Three Leaders
January 1999: The Millennium
February 1999: Ten Years of Fatwa
March 1999: Globalization
April 1999: Rock Music
May 1999: Moron of the Year
June 1999: Kashmir
July 1999: Northern Ireland
August 1999: Kosovo
September 1999: Darwin in Kansas
October 1999: Edward Said
November 1999: Pakistan
December 1999: Islam and the West
January 2000: Terror Versus Security
February 2000: Jörg Haider
March 2000: Amadou Diallo
April 2000: Elián Gonzáles
May 2000: J. M. Coetzee
June 2000: Fiji
July 2000: Sport
August 2000: Two Crashes
Septmeber 2000: Senator Lieberman
October 2000: The Human Rights Act
November 2000: Going to Electoral College
December 2000: A Grand Coalition?
January 2001: How the Grinch Stole America
February 2001: Sleaze Is Back
March 2001: Crouching Striker, Hidden Danger
April 2001: It Wasn't Me
May 2001: Abortion in India
June 2001: Reality TV
July 2001: The Release of the Bulger Killers
August 2001: Arundhati Roy
September 2001: Telluride
October 2001: The Attacks on America
November 2001: Not About Islam?
February 2002: Anti-Americanism
March 2002: God in Gujarat
IV. STEP ACROSS THIS LINE