Salman Rushdie

Indian Intellectuals are Being Bullied by Right-Wing Extremists

A Hindu group sues, a publisher caves, and a nation becomes less free

A publisher agreed to pulp a controversial book after right-wing Hindus filed suit. Anyone who cares about free speech in the world's largest democracy should worry.

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The best 9/11 novel is a comic one

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Salman Rushdie's legendary novel Midnight's Children was set on this very day—an opportune time to republish The New Republic's 1981 review of the book.

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The persecution of a prophetic novel and a pompous novelist.

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Hilary Mantel has won the Man Booker prize for a second time, and, as far as we know, no behind-the-scenes wrangling led to her victory. But it wouldn’t have been surprising if some squabbles had taken place. The Booker has always been unusually contentious. So contentious, in fact, that an alternative prize—the “Not the Booker”—was initiated in 2009 by The Guardian to poke fun at the internecine debates and offer a more open contest. At least that was the plan.

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[Guest Post by Isaac Chotiner] The New York Times front page story today on opposition to the mosque near Ground Zero has the following comments: --The mosque would be an "unnecessary provocation." (Sarah Palin) --"It’s not about religion, and is clearly an aggressive act that is offensive.” (Newt Gingrich) --Abe Foxman said in an interview on Friday that the organization came to the conclusion that the location was offensive to families of victims of Sept.

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Against Beauty

One of the running jokes in On Beauty, Zadie Smith’s third novel, is that its main character is philosophically opposed to beauty. Howard Belsey is a professor of art history at Wellington College, and like all middle-aged professors in campus novels, he is a ludicrous figure--unfaithful to his wife, disrespected by his children, and, of course, unable to finish the book he has been talking about for years. In Howard’s case, the book is meant to be a demolition of Rembrandt, whose canvases he sees as key sites for the production of the Western ideology of beauty. “What we’re trying to ...

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The Believer

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the young woman of Somali origin, the former member of the Dutch Parliament, whom Islamist groups condemned to death three years ago. On that day in November 2004 when Dutch filmmaker and provocateur Theo van Gogh was murdered, she was designated, in a letter pinned with a knife to the corpse, as the killers' next target.

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States of Emergency

Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi by Katherine Frank (Houghton Mifflin, 448 pp., $35) I. The glassy memorial that stands in the garden where Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards in 1984 is among the most visited secular sites in India. Morning and afternoon, busloads of Indians arrive from across the country, whole families together, young and old, noisy but respectful. Nearly twenty years dead, Mrs. Gandhi stays vivid in popular memory. In the view of most Indians, she was the best prime minister that they have ever had.

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