BOOKS: Worlds Apart

In nine short stories, Salman Rushdie treats East and West

IT HAS BEEN ALMOST SIX YEARS SINCE Iran's Ayatullah Khomeini put a price on the head of Salman Rushdie for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his novel The Satanic Verses. Since then the world has grown ever more complacent about Rushdie's predicament even as he has done his share of -- entirely justified -- complaining and hectoring; the author now resembles, in some minds, Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, a man doomed by an unwitting offense to go on talking about his fate to any listener he can corner.

The nine stories Rushdie tells in East, West (Pantheon; 214 pages; $21), however, shed remarkably...

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