The British Indian novelist and essayist has authored several novels, a book of short stories and a few pieces of non fiction too. A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, Salman Rushdie has also won numerous awards including the Booker Prize (for Midnight’s Children) and also the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice). His books have been translated into over forty languages.
Commenting about writing his just released novel, The Golden House, Rushdie says that the process of writing it was simple. “I wake up, dive into the book, work until I’m exhausted, then stop. And of course I’m constantly revising, re-reading, subtracting, adding, and that goes on until the day the book goes to press – it certainly did in this case,” said the author who turned 70 this June. “I don’t show anybody anything until I think I’ve finished. ‘Finishing’ to me means realising that my revisions aren’t improving the work, but merely changing it; and becoming aware that my creative energy for the work has dimmed. A novel, Randall Jarrell said, is a long piece of writing that has something wrong with it; perfection is an impossible dream.”
While many of Rushdie’s books were consciously political, they are never self-consciously so, thanks to deftness of touch shot through with promiscuous scholarship. “Speaking as a reader, I don’t like books that seem to preach at me,” he says when the prickly subject of Indian writers twerking internationally as professional causewallahs is raised. “My idea is closer to the Joycean concept that literature should be ‘static,’ not ‘dynamic’ – by which I mean that it should not seek to push the reader one way or the other, but to create a world in which the reader can find enjoyment, stimulation, challenge, information, thought, emotion, beauty… all the pleasures of art.”
From HT Brunch, September 3, 2017