Step Across This Line
By Salman Rushdie
Random House, 2002
Buy this book
"To cross a frontier is to be transformed .... The frontier is a wake-up call. At the frontier, we can't avoid the truth; the comforting layers of the quotidian, which insulate us against the world's harsher realities, are stripped away and, wide-eyed in the harsh fluorescent light of the frontier's windowless halls, we see things as they are."
In Salman Rushdie's latest collection of non-fiction, he crosses over the frontier and sees and tells things as they are, inviting readers to "step across this line" with him.
The essays, speeches, and opinion pieces assembled in Step Across This Line, written over the last 10 years, cover an astonishing range of subjects. The collection chronicles Rushdie's intellectual odyssey and is also an especially personal look into the writer's psyche. With the same fierce intelligence, uncanny social commentary, and very strong opinions that distinguish his fiction, Rushdie writes about his fascination with The Wizard of Oz, his obsession with soccer, and the state of the novel, among many other topics. Most notably, delving into his unique personal experience fighting the Iranian fatwa, he addresses the subject of militant Islam in a series of challenging and deeply felt responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The book ends with the eponymous Step Across This Line, a lecture Rushdie delivered at Yale in the spring of 2002, which has never been published before and is sure to prompt discussion.
Rushdie's first collection of non-fiction, Imaginary Homelands, offered a unique vision of politics, literature, and culture for the 1980s. Step Across This Line does the same and more for the last decade of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st.
About the Author
(From the publisher) Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay in 1947, a member of a middle-class business family. He was educated at Bombay's Cathedral School and at Rugby School in England, and he earned an M.A. in history at King's College, Cambridge. He worked in Pakistani television, as an actor in London, and as an advertising copywriter before becoming a full-time writer.
Salman Rushdie answered questions from MPR's Katherine Lanpher and the audience during his appearance at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul on October 2, 2002.
Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children, a family saga of post-Independence India, won the 1981 Booker Prize, England's highest honor for fiction, and also the Booker of Bookers in 1993. In 1989, after the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses, the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, claiming that the book defamed "Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran," declared a fatwah against Rushdie, offering a bounty of $3 million for his life. For the last seven years Rushdie has lived in hiding, making only rare appearances but producing four books: Haroun and the Sea of Stories, a children's story; East, West, a book of short fiction; Imaginary Homelands, a collection of essays and criticism; and the novels The Moor's Last Sigh and The Ground beneath Her Feet. Rushdie has one son, Zafar.