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Extended Audio Sample Joseph Anton: A Memoir Audiobook, by Salman Rushdie Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,677 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Salman Rushdie Narrator: Sam Dastor Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2012 ISBN: 9780449807828
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Can you imagine a life where you lived in fear for your own safety...for your own existence...for nine years? What about your family? What lengths would you go to in order to ensure their safety? These questions and more are the ones answered in Salman Rushdie's "Joseph Anton: A Memoir".

Rushdie faced a death sentence that had been handed down to him by the Ayatollah Khomeini. His crime was not one of murder, or any other crime you might connect with a death sentence. Rushdie was the author of The Satanic Verses, a book that was considered to be an outspoken work that went against Islam, Muhammed and the Quran. The news was delivered to Rushdie via telephone on Valentine's Day, 1989. From that moment on, Rushdie's life changed, and so did his family's.

Rushdie began running. Because he had to keep moving from place to place to avoid being found, he was forced into hiding underground. Rushdie spent his time in the company of a band of police officers who were armed and equipped to protect him. At their request, he chose an alias for them to call him, to avoid using his real name and jeopardizing their mission. He chose the name Joseph Anton.

"Joseph Anton: A Memoir" chronicles the story of those nine years Rushdie spent in hiding in a way that will captivate your mind and leave you wondering about the actions of groups all over the world who still censor freedom of speech. Rushdie learns valuable lessons during this important time in his life. He learns how to persevere under fire, how to continue working, and how to survive under the most extreme circumstances you can imagine. This enthralling audiobook will leave you breathless from beginning to end. Rushdie's other books include The Satanic Verses and Midnight Verses.

On February 14, 1989, Valentine’s Day, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told he had been “sentenced to death” by the Ayatollah Khomeini. For the first time he heard the word fatwa. His crime? To have written a novel called The Satanic Verses, which was accused of being “against Islam, the Prophet, and the Quran.”

So begins the extraordinary story of how a writer was forced underground, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team. He was asked to choose an alias that the police could call him by. He thought of writers he loved and combinations of their names; then it came to him: Conrad and Chekhov—Joseph Anton.

How do a writer and his family live with the threat of murder for more than nine years? How does he go on working? How does he fall in and out of love? How does despair shape his thoughts and actions, how and why does he stumble, how does he learn to fight back? In this remarkable memoir Rushdie tells that story for the first time; the story of one of the crucial battles, in our time, for freedom of speech. He talks about the sometimes grim, sometimes comic realities of living with armed policemen, and of the close bonds he formed with his protectors; of his struggle for support and understanding from governments, intelligence chiefs, publishers, journalists, and fellow writers; and of how he regained his freedom.

It is a book of exceptional frankness and honesty, compelling, provocative, moving, and of vital importance. Because what happened to Salman Rushdie was the first act of a drama that is still unfolding somewhere in the world every day.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A harrowing, deeply felt and revealing document: an autobiographical mirror of the big, philosophical preoccupations that have animated Mr. Rushdie’s work throughout his career.”

    New York Times

  • “A splendid book, the finest…memoir to cross my desk in many a year.”

    Washington Post

  • “Thoughtful and astute…An important book.”

    USA Today

  • “Compelling, affecting…Demonstrates Mr. Rushdie’s ability as a stylist and storyteller…He reacted with great bravery and even heroism.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Extraordinary…Joseph Anton beautifully modulates between…moments of accidental hilarity, and the higher purpose Rushdie saw in opposing—at all costs—any curtailment on a writer’s freedom.”

    Boston Globe

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book
  • A 2012 Seattle Times Best Book
  • A 2012 Economist Best Book
  • A 2012 BookPage Best Book
  • A 2012 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tania Suster | 2/19/2014

    " Fascinating to learn about his life in hiding during the fatwa his writing process and what a total DOG he was to his wives! really enjoyed and recommend particularly if you like his work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karla Leskovsky | 2/1/2014

    " Now playing in the Impreza. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dennis Diehl | 1/26/2014

    " A little tedious and a bit repetitive. Also, I found the third-person perspective distracting. Having said that, this story is too important to ignore. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cheryl | 1/24/2014

    " Rushdie's memoir of his years in hiding because of the Fatwa calling for his death is fascinating. I had no idea that British public opinion was so negative towards him. He does seem naive at the beginning when he is shocked at the reaction to the Satanic verses by fundamentalists accusing him of blasphemy. Of course, the fact that seems so predictable now is in large part because of his story. Perhaps it truly was not as obvious 20 years ago. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Drathod | 1/22/2014

    " Compelling. All the detail is fascinating, an interesting way to see recent history through the eyes of an unlikely victim. Very good! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cosimo | 1/20/2014

    " As a memoir, it's good. But it's great as a recounting of the fatwa and the cravenness of the Western European governments in the face of the mindless violence of their Muslim immigrants. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 G | 12/27/2013

    " third person perspective. good story telling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 10/26/2013

    " So, this is early in the publication life of this book. Over the coming days/weeks, you will hear that this memoir is thrilling, moving, self-important, petty, egotistical, remarkable, beautiful and tedious. All of those things will be true. It will dazzle you even as it drives you crazy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Guy Tower | 10/22/2013

    " this is Salman Rushdie's most intimate book, a very personal memoir about his youth, his life, the effect of the death fatwa on his daily life, his thoughts about Islam and politics "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joan | 9/23/2013

    " A bit tedious & eerie in the 3rd person. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lois Russell | 7/4/2013

    " If you can get past the vengeful rants, self-serving fawning and his arrogance, this is interesting. I just pretended he was a fictional character. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Samantha Brown | 12/16/2012

    " While I found the gossipy parts of this book fascinating -- I never knew he had a thing with Robyn Davidson! etc etc -- in the end I just couldn't finish it. Awfully navel-gazing. Navel-gazing is fine if you can transmute it into something that has greater meaning for readers, but meh. "

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About the Author
Author Salman Rushdie

Sir Salman Rushdie is the author of many novels, including Grimus, Midnight’s Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The Ground beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, and The Enchantress of Florence. He has also published works of nonfiction, including The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, The Wizard of Oz, and, as coeditor, The Vintage Book of Short Stories. He has received many awards for his writing and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. In 1993 Midnight’s Children was judged to be the “Booker of Bookers,” the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first twenty-five years. In June 2007 he received a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

About the Narrator

Sam Dastor studied English at Cambridge and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His early theatrical experience includes a spell at the National Theatre under Sir Laurence Olivier and time spent acting in the West End. For the Royal Shakespeare Company, he has been seen in Timon of Athens, Tales from Ovid, and a world tour of A Servant to Two Masters. His many television appearances include I, Claudius; Yes, Minister; Mountbatten; Julius Caesar; and Fortunes of War. He has also appeared in the films Made, Jinnah, and Such a Long Journey, recorded over a thousand broadcasts for the BBC, and narrated numerous audio books.