the mutt

Rushdie Rediscovered

Posted in General, Writing by grx20 on April 29, 2009

Over the last few days I’ve been watching interviews with Salman Rushdie on youtube.
And I’m discovering again, he is quite brilliant and also why he’s so highly esteemed.

This one in particular is really good.

I am bowled over by the depth of his ideas, the sheer magic of his imagination and the edgy things he’s doing in his stories.
His latest novel, The Enchantress of Florence is bristling with some amazing ideas. Each of them is good enough for one novel – Rushdie packs them all into one.

I know what my next book is.


‘We can’t give it to him again, right?’

Posted in General by grx20 on September 17, 2008

The press is united in calling it a snub.
Salman Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence hasn’t made it to the Booker shortlist.

This can’t be right.

Is the Booker Prize Foundation afraid of Rushdie? They even had to make a statement defending leaving him out – ‘We’re braced for it,’ one of the judges said.

Is the Booker Prize Foundation worried about coming across as being overtly pro-Rushdie? After all, they have awarded him the Booker of Bookers and recently the Best of the Booker.

Reminds me of the time when Schumacher was on his spree of winning World Championships, the FIA introduced a series of regulations and rules that smacked of conspiracy – to stop the Ferrari juggernaut.

Except with Rushdie, the Booker Prize Foundation didn’t have to change any rules. They simply sent him off to the pit garage.

If it isn’t the fear of becoming a ‘Booked For Rushdie’ award, then there must be something.

Perhaps, Jonathan Jones of Guardian UK has uncovered it. Read it here. And you decide.

One Hamlet, on the rocks. Or, the art of mixing it up.

Posted in Writing by grx20 on August 27, 2008

‘Genre’ can be a scary word.

Perhaps you’ve grappled with it, wondering what kind of stuff you want to write. You have an idea which is a little of horror, a little crime, some humour, some history and even romance. Are you allowed to do all that in one book?

One of the best in the field has done it, and gotten away with it. I’ll leave it to another master of the craft to tell us more – Salman Rushdie, in an interview with Powells. (Full interview here)

Rushdie: Many, many years ago, when I was just starting out as a writer, I heard the British playwright Howard Brenton talk about Shakespeare. He said some things I’ve amplified in my mind, so I don’t remember what was him and what’s me, but the gist of it was that one of the great gifts of Shakespeare to writers in the English language was to show that a work of literature can be many things at once-it doesn’t have to be just one thing.

An example I sometimes use: look at the sequence of opening scenes of Hamlet. The first scene is a ghost story. The second scene is intrigue at court. The third scene is a love story. The fourth scene is knockabout comedy. And the fifth scene is a ghost story again. What Shakespeare showed is that you could do all that. It’s completely unlike the French classical tradition, which is much more purist. Shakespeare said, Mix it all up. You can have comedy, history, and tragedy all wrapped into one. And all you have to do to pull it off is be Shakespeare. (Emphasis mine – the mutt).

But it’s a great liberation for writers of the English language to see that the greatest writer was free-form in that way. I’ve always liked that. A book doesn’t have to be just a thriller, or just a comedy, or just a psychological novel. It can be all those things at once.