Booker winner putting to bed the long shadows of his past
This article is from 2008.
Salman Rushdie’s new book The Enchantress Of Florence came close to being stillborn but he believes it represents the rebirth of his talent. The writing of his 11th novel was disrupted by the exit of his fourth wife, Padma Lakshmi. Distraught, Rushdie struggled to work but eventually found solace in the sensual cultures of his text, Renaissance Florence and Mughal-era India. ‘I was going through a terrible time,’ he recalls, ‘and it was great to reimmerse myself in this world I had created, and spend my day there rather than in a 2007 which wasn't much fun.’
The last time Rushdie was so happy with a book was Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and before that Midnight’s Children. His most infamous novel remains The Satanic Verses, though it is a decade since the fatwa was withdrawn. ‘I no longer have to define myself by that,’ says Rushdie, ‘and I wish everyone would catch up because it has been a terrible shadow over my work. The long-term damage has been to make people consider my writing theological, arcane and incomprehensible. All I can do is keep working and hope that, in the end, the books stand and the scandal recedes.’
24 Aug, 11.30am, £9 (£7)