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Extended Audio Sample Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992–2002, 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 (686 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:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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! "

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