Twenty years after the Ayatollah Khomeini called for his execution, Salman Rushdie is still alive – and still making enemies. John Preston in the Telegraph:
A car pulls up outside a Georgian house in Soho. Out steps Salman Rushdie. He’s dressed entirely in black – black overcoat, black scarf, black jacket, black sweater, trousers, shoes… The only thing not completely black is his shirt and that’s only because it’s got a few white stripes on it. He looks – actually, he looks just like a hit-man.
In his hand he carries a polythene bag full of books. When he comes upstairs, I find myself peering through the opaque plastic trying to make out the titles. One of them turns out to be the French version of his last novel, The Enchantress of Florence – now out in paperback. The book, declares Rushdie with satisfaction, has done terrifically well in France, getting ‘the sort of rave reviews you find yourself making up in the bath’.
Over here, it had a more mixed reception, but then, as Rushdie says of himself, ‘I’m not the sort of writer who ever gets five out of 10 reviews. I tend to get 11 out of 10, or minus one out of 10. That’s all right, though; it shows that people are having strong reactions.’