SALMAN RUSHDIE – interview in ‘L’EXPRESS’, 29 September 2005

The French weekly ‘L’Express’ for 29 September 2005 carries a long interview with Salman Rushdie, whose new novel ‘Shalimar The Clown’ has just appeared in French translation (cf. this blog, 7 October 2005). The interview, by Thierry Gandillot (pp. 110-114 – http://www.lexpress.fr) is entitled ‘Salman Rushdie: "Aucun auteur ne devrait être aussi connu que je suis"’ (‘Salman Rushdie: "No author should be as well-known as I am"’). I paraphrase some of the main points: 1) Rushdie sees Kashmir, the region where his maternal grandparents lived, as a ‘paradise lost’, a place where in the days before Partition Hindus and Muslims lived together in harmony; 2) he stresses that this novel, unlike his earlier ‘Midnight’s Children’, is *not* transformed autobiography: none of the characters should be identified with the author; 3) in particular, the writer killed for alleged religious offences in the book is a fictionalised version of the late Algerian novelist and journalist Tabar Djaout, and the incident has nothing to do with Rushdie’s own tribulations; 4) this is a novel of globalisation, set variously in the US, India and Europe (notably Strasbourg, France), and reflects the ever-closer interrelation of people and events the world over. Rushdie adds, asked about his relationship with India, that he returned to the country of his birth three times last year and that his visits are no longer news!

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