Christopher Hitchens’ engagement with novelist Salman Rushdie is immediately striking. First, there is the program itself: A ferocious anti-Zionist interviews a Muslim-turned-fatwa-target at the 92nd Street Y, ostensibly a Jewish organization, nevertheless flouting its nuanced, erudite cultural palette here. Then there’s the seeming unlikelihood of the loquaciously polemic Hitchens keeping quiet long enough to let Rushdie speak. Indeed, as this 2005 interview transpired, Hitchens’ star was perhaps outshining that of his old friend. Nonetheless, Rushdie lilts through an hour of uninterrupted excerpts from his acclaimed Shalimar the Clown, after which Hitchens, at once blithe and penetrating, drills the author regarding Indian democracy, literature, history, and foreign affairs. Reflective and forthright, Rushdie candidly acknowledges his own uneasy relationship with his country of birth.
This event took place on November 3, 2005.
Enjoy the excerpts? Don't miss the complete Shalimar the Clown.
© and (P)2005 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
This time I read the blurb correctly; it is indeed Rusdie interviewed by Hitchens. It's not as good as the one I picked up by mistake (which is all interview and wherein they rehearse some of the stories that they abbreviate in this version), but it is still very entertaining.
Rushdie reads extracts from his then new release, Shalimar the Clown ( a great book). The reading is not great, but the insight, the wit and the freakish brilliance of Rushdie is on show in every word of every line. The little tribute to great Indian writers (by Hitchens) is also very interesting.
Another hour well spent. When someone asks you that old chestnut, if you could have dinner with anyone at all, you'll know to say Salmund (alas, Hitchens has left us).
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