July 21, 2005

Rushdie has fewer reasons to be grumpy . . .


Sixteen years after Islamic fundamentalists declared a fatwah on Salman Rushdie that drove him into hiding, the author of Satanic Verses is “ambling the cobbled streets in plain sight” as the star of the Brazilian Paraty Literary Festival, according to a report in the Christian Science Monitor by Andrew Downey. It signifies that Rushdie “feels at ease doing all the things he did before the death sentence was imposed,” says Downey. “Shuttling between his two homes in London and New York without bodyguards shadowing his every step, Rushdie is in jovial form. Even being stopped in the street can bring a smile to Rushdie — despite his longstanding reputation for grumpiness.” He tells Downey, “The people who come up to me are mostly coming up because they are interested in something I have written. Sometimes it can become intrusive, but on the whole it is not bad, really.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.