Notes: East, WestThese notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. East, West is an anthologized work, one of the most distinctive works to have been written by Salman Rushdie. The stories that are found in each section are representative of the ethos of that respective landscape. While all these stories are fictitious, it is well known that they are inspired by the time when Salman Rushdie had to live in the west in hiding due to the Fatwas issued against him. His life was in such danger that many critics and readers considered even the fact that he was writing an act of courage. This work is charged with heavy popular culture references; much like all his other works, is a pointed commentary on a political scenario that plagues several parts of the world.
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IN AN age where we are regularly asked to judge not only the book but the accompanying performance of the writer, the vexed issue of the relationship between art and the artist infects literary life like a kind of distemper. Some novels seem inextricably bound up with the antics of their creators. But Salman Rushdie has fallen into this category by sheer mischance. Of all the misfortunes to affect a writer, one of the most dismal must be an awareness that the simple act of picking up your pen has become a highly charged political act, open to misrepresentation by friend and enemy alike. Depressingly, the fact of Rushdie's continued existence as a writer is as much a challenge for his admirers as his detractors. After all, to criticise work by a victim of intolerance can look dangerously like abetting zealotry.
Salman Rushdie is a clever writer, and he wants to make sure that you know it. While Rohinton Mistry paints a picture and sets you inside it and Kiran Desai tries to massage you with a voluminous vocabulary, Rushdie wants to give you literature, nothing but literature. He wants you to think, examine, and find something new every time. The stories themselves are diverse: the "East" section starts out, predictably, in India, and the reader soon thinks that the book will be a feel-good collection of stories of the homeland, with a few foreign accents through in for good measure. But, ji nahin sahib! The closer we get to the "West" section, the stranger things seem.
The book is divided into three main sections, entitled "East", "West", and "East, West", each section containing stories from their respective geographical areas in the "East, West" section both worlds are influenced by each other. Though Rushdie himself never divulged the exact inspirations for his stories in East, West , it is commonly thought that the central themes of each of his stories are drawn from his personal experiences as an immigrant in England during the time of the fatwas issued against his life.
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