Salman Rushdie, a resistant writer, storyteller of the chaos of the world

Salman Rushdie, a resistant writer, storyteller of the chaos of the world

American novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie in Paris, September 10, 2018.

Stay on course. To devote himself to literature, whose ability to “to increase the sum of what human beings are capable of perceiving, understanding, and therefore, ultimately, of being” (Joseph Anton, an autobiography, lead, 2012). Not giving up writing is one of the forms of resistance chosen by Salman Rushdie after the fatwa enacted against him in February 1989. It is inseparable from his defense, never denied, of freedom of expression, one of whose testimonies was his strong support for Charlie Hebdo after the attacks of 2015, when an important part of the American intellectual scene was talking. So many procrastinations that must have revived painful memories in the writer.

Stay a novelist, at all costs. A novelist busy recounting the chaos of the world, armed with his imagination, his erudition and his humor. After all, if it’s accidentally » that his life has been “made interesting” (from a narrative point of view), as he happened to ironize the turning point in his life thirty-three years ago, it was on the other hand quite voluntarily that he became a writer.

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He was born on June 19, 1947 into a Muslim and bourgeois family – businessman father, teacher mother – in Bombay, in a neighborhood where Indians and European and American expatriates coexist. In an interview with the magazine Rules of the Gamein 1993, he noted: “For anyone who grew up in any big city, especially in a city like mine, where East and West meet, one of the facts that stands out to you is that the culture is hybrid, that it is a mixture, in short, that it is an impure form. And the novel should be a celebration of impurity. »

In 1961, the teenager was sent to study in England; after high school, he entered Cambridge to study history. Once graduated, this great reader, naturalized British, earns his living by working in advertising, a sector which teaches him, he will say, the art of “brevity even though it’s not the first term that comes to mind when one thinks of his lush work – but he does indeed have a taste for formulas that encapsulate several ideas or feelings in a minimum of words.

“I had discovered my voice”

In 1968, he left his job to start writing. Begin years of learning and trial and error for the one whose influences are to be sought as much from Charles Dickens as from the New Wave, from Luis Buñuel as from Mikhaïl Bulgakov or from the traditional fables of the Pañchatantra to which he was fed. In 1975, he published his first novel, Makeup (JC Lattès, 1977), which organizes the meeting of science fiction, mythology and storytelling, without convincing too much. Including its author, who, when he just doesn’t forget to mention it, brushes it off with a: “It wasn’t very good. »

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