Hunted by An Angry Faith

Salman Rushdie's novel cracks open a fault line between East and West

It was an absurdist nightmare, a story that all but defied the Western imagination. A middle-aged author, born in Bombay but for many years resident in London, writes a long, sardonic novel, by turns philosophical and comic and fantastic. In the book's opening scene, two middle-aged Indian actors fall 29,002 feet from a jetliner that has just been exploded by terrorists over the English Channel. They have an animated conversation as they hurtle toward earth; they land safely, but then their troubles begin anew. Along the way, the author writes about his schooling and young adulthood in Britain, about his love...

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