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Extended Audio Sample Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992–2002 Audiobook, by Salman Rushdie Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (33 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Salman Rushdie Narrator: Firdous Bamji Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2002 ISBN: 9781436126687
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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 nonfiction, 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 ten 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 and is sure to prompt discussion.

Rushdie’s first collection of nonfiction, 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 twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Rushdie’s] turns and words are frequently exhilarating. There is…lilting pleasure in the collection.”

    New York Times Book Review
  • “This book is full of so much that is ‘relevant’ that the very word seems inadequate.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Every reader will find at least one essay in this collection that will bring anger and one that will cause audible laughter—and that is what makes Rushdie such an intelligent critic and thought-provoking writer.”

    Rocky Mountain News

  • “The essays crackle with [Rushdie’s] enthusiasm, humor, and intelligence.”

    Miami Herald

  • “Sometimes pensive, sometimes marvelously funny, always lucid essays, reviews, and occasional pieces by the renowned Anglo-Indian novelist.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A New York Times Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Louie | 2/10/2014

    " My introduction to Rushdie. I heard him read from this book on Book TV (CSPAN 2), and was intrigued. I had dismissed him before this, and I was frankly blown away by his insight and wry humor. He wonderfully describes those frontiers in which we interact and struggle to live along the borders of our lives. I will read everything this man writes. He is gifted and amazing, and expect that one day the world will recognize him as he deserves: as a Nobel laureate for literature. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robertisenberg | 2/4/2014

    " I read only half of Rushdie's "Fury", because the novel felt more like an editorial with plot. "Fury" was the last novel I tried to read, switching this year to nonfiction alone. "Step Across This Line" is a collection of Rushdie's many essays, journal entries and op-ed pieces, and if you enjoy Rushdie's novels, you will likely appreciate his refreshing political perspective. Rushdie is very reasonable, very down-to-earth, very humanitarian. His analysis is vivifying; his knowledge of world affairs is impressive. He is, as ever, the angry atheist, but the section titled "The Plague Years" certainly explains his rage. Even if the Ayatollah HAD read "The Satanic Verses" (he didn't) and even if he HAD understood the dream sequences (not an easy task) and even if he DIDN'T find them fairly inoffensive (as I did), did Rushdie deserve to be hunted like a stag in the global desert? For me, Rushdie is a kind of secular saint -- his preachings are essays, his deity is peace and justice, and his miracle is survival. Rushdie is oft accused of egotism, but what qualities, coupled with a great sense of humor and appreciation for rock music, could be less pretentious? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phil | 1/31/2014

    " It's fun to read Step Across This Line, because you get a glimpse of where Rushdie's ideas come from. If you've read The Ground Beneath Her Feet, you'll recognize entire chapters, fictionalized more or less directly from episodes in his life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nathan | 1/19/2014

    " While this collection of essays and op-ed pieces is nowhere near as entrancing as his fiction, Rushdie talks a lot of sense. I am very excited to learn he is working on his memoirs! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 1/15/2014

    " The essay about 'The Wizard of Oz' in this book makes me so happy. Overall it's a good sampling of Rushdie's nonfiction work, which gives some insight to the man behind the more fantasy driven fiction he produces. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria | 1/15/2014

    " I've been meaning to read Rushdie for a while and thought a non-fiction anthology would be a good primer to get a feel for the author. I do thing thing whereupon reading a book that has been hyped too much to me or overexposed, I can't help having the book reviewers, magazine articles, and people's comments in my head while reading. Instead of diving straight into Rushdie's most-known works, I thought I'd take a little side trip. This book did not disappoint, though I had to look up some of the details of his personal life to which he referred in the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 1/10/2014

    " I found this collection of essays thought provoking and well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate M | 1/1/2014

    " Rushdie is undoubtedly among the greatest living prose. The issues of transgression and boundaries are called upon in his collection of essays,speeches,and columns.As a virgin to Rushdie's work,his words perforated my core and left me thirsting for more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fred Poisson | 12/23/2013

    " Rushdie is one of the world's most brilliant minds and this is a breathtaking collection of his essays, some of the most interesting works I have ever read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vojtech Podhorny | 12/10/2013

    " Rushdie's writing is great be it fiction or essays... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 10/30/2013

    " Collection of essays, long one on Wizard of Oz, some post 9/11, a surprising one Turner's frontier thesis. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie Page | 10/4/2013

    " Really great stuff that ties in pop culture (rap, Disney, current authors & film directors) and applies it to the big issues (terrorism, cultural and national boundaries, fear). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cynthia | 7/20/2013

    " Fabulous. Best thing I'd read then in a while. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 RK Byers | 9/30/2012

    " alternated between being really good and kinda 'eh'. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Serena | 3/12/2012

    " The greatest book to give a new graduate. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin Kizer | 1/26/2012

    " A wonderful books of essays by the great writer, touching on a wide range of topics from fatwas (he's an expert) to the Wizard of Oz. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Goldmund | 1/14/2012

    " A wonderful collection of essays. Of course I have not finished everything, but this is not a kind of book to finish in one reading anyway. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kieh | 1/4/2012

    " An enlightening, hilarious, and somewhat self-indulgent collection of essays that allows us to peer inside Salman Rushdie's brilliance. Inspired me to reach beyond 'Midnight's Children' and 'Satanic Verses'. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Travis | 9/16/2011

    " refreshing direction for a true iconoclast. though nonfiction, typical rushdieisms find their way into the structure. allegories of borders, man made and otherwise. both current and timeless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew Tunstall | 7/20/2011

    " A brilliant mind and an excellent writer "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Salwa | 7/9/2011

    " I have fallen in love with Rushdie.The more i read his books the more I get addicted to him "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adrianne | 3/8/2011

    " Personally, I enjoyed his nonfiction much more than his fiction. I enjoyed his essay on being a soccer fan the most. :o) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tara | 11/11/2010

    " Collection of essays that reflect on the events of our world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adrianne | 3/18/2010

    " Personally, I enjoyed his nonfiction much more than his fiction. I enjoyed his essay on being a soccer fan the most. :o) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 10/2/2009

    " Collection of essays, long one on Wizard of Oz, some post 9/11, a surprising one Turner's frontier thesis. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin | 6/18/2009

    " A wonderful books of essays by the great writer, touching on a wide range of topics from fatwas (he's an expert) to the Wizard of Oz. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fatima | 5/27/2009

    " interesting interpretation/explanation on Wizard of Oz, his writing style is unconventional compared to most middle eastern authors that i have read. this book are of his essays and other things. his essay "Imagine, There is no Heaven" is by far my favorite. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shawn | 3/26/2009

    " This is a collection of essays by Salman Rushdie that span many years and topics. I listened to the book on tape, and it made for a very interesting and often entertaining listen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amiri | 2/18/2009

    " Best is the analysis of Wizard of Oz from postcolonial perspective--amazing and still so relevant in our redefining of America. He is a man's man, though, and the best a woman reader can hope for is abstracted sympathy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Salwa | 9/1/2008

    " I have fallen in love with Rushdie.The more i read his books the more I get addicted to him "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 8/22/2008

    " Love the Auction of the Ruby Slippers story... that's the reason I picked up this one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David | 8/5/2008

    " This collection opens with an interminable, overreaching, boring essay on the Wizard of Oz and closes with a smart, insightful, wide-ranging essay on the idea frontier. The filler in between is mediocre and mostly about what it's like to be Salman Rushdie.

    Snap. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cynthia | 6/20/2008

    " Fabulous. Best thing I'd read then in a while. "

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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

Firdous Bamji has appeared in numerous plays in New York and across the country and played the title role in William Shakespeare’s Othello. He has played leading parts in world and American premiere productions of plays by noted playwrights, including Tom Stoppard, Tony Kushner, Eric Bogosian, and Rebecca Gilman. He has also had guest starring parts on Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU, and he was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award as Best Supporting Actor for his work in the film The War Within.