Languages of Truth: Essays 2003-2020 (Paperback)
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"Just as George Orwell may rightly be claimed to have been an essayist who occasionally wrote novels, so Rushdie could be the novelist who occasionally writes essays. Though several of the pieces are adapted from lectures or commencement addresses, that in no way diminishes their essay form-in fact, this broad ranging collection demonstrates not only tremendous curiosity, but also charm, love, and even anger. Despite his lack of fictional output ("The roar of the real world was deafening and left no quiet space in which an imagined world might grow."), and his own brush with COVID-19, this is a wonderful collection, as often full of interesting people as is it of explorations of the stories that bind us together. The title could in fact be 'The Power of Stories,' for Rushdie's love of literature and story, particularly of India, is the thread that runs through almost every piece."--Reviewed by Andrew
Newly collected, revised, and expanded nonfiction from the first two decades of the twenty-first century—including many texts never previously in print—by the Booker Prize–winning, internationally bestselling author
Longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay
Salman Rushdie is celebrated as “a master of perpetual storytelling” (The New Yorker), illuminating truths about our society and culture through his gorgeous, often searing prose. Now, in his latest collection of nonfiction, he brings together insightful and inspiring essays, criticism, and speeches that focus on his relationship with the written word and solidify his place as one of the most original thinkers of our time.
Gathering pieces written between 2003 and 2020, Languages of Truth chronicles Rushdie’s intellectual engagement with a period of momentous cultural shifts. Immersing the reader in a wide variety of subjects, he delves into the nature of storytelling as a human need, and what emerges is, in myriad ways, a love letter to literature itself. Rushdie explores what the work of authors from Shakespeare and Cervantes to Samuel Beckett, Eudora Welty, and Toni Morrison mean to him, whether on the page or in person. He delves deep into the nature of “truth,” revels in the vibrant malleability of language and the creative lines that can join art and life, and looks anew at migration, multiculturalism, and censorship.
Enlivened on every page by Rushdie’s signature wit and dazzling voice, Languages of Truth offers the author’s most piercingly analytical views yet on the evolution of literature and culture even as he takes us on an exhilarating tour of his own exuberant and fearless imagination.
About the Author
Salman Rushdie is the author of fourteen previous novels, including Midnight’s Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, The Moor’s Last Sigh, and Quichotte, all of which have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize; a collection of stories, East, West; a memoir, Joseph Anton; a work of reportage, The Jaguar Smile; and three collections of essays, most recently Languages of Truth. His many awards include the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel, which he won twice; the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award; the National Arts Award; the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger; the European Union’s Aristeion Prize for Literature; the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature; and the Italian Premio Grinzane Cavour. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University. He is a former president of PEN America. His books have been translated into over forty languages.
Praise for Languages of Truth
“Mesmerizing . . . Rushdie’s writing is erudite and full of sympathy, brimming with insight and wit: ‘Literature has never lost sight of what our quarrelsome world is trying to force us to forget. Literature rejoices in contradiction.’ Rushdie’s fans will be delighted.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Wide-ranging nonfiction pieces by the distinguished novelist, unified by his commitment to artistic freedom and his adamant opposition to censorship in any form. . . . This collection . . . showcases his generous spirit, dedicated to illuminating the work of fellow artists and defending their right to unfettered creativity. . . . Engagingly passionate, and endlessly informative: a literary treat.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Praise for Salman Rushdie
“He is a legend. . . . His is not only an enviable talent, it’s a revelatory mind [displaying] a profound knowledge of history, culture, human frailty, and triumph.”—Toni Morrison
“One of the greatest writers of our age . . . a giant of literature.”—Neil Gaiman
“Rushdie is our Scheherazade.”—Ursula K. Le Guin, The Guardian
“A master of metamorphosis—transforming life, art and language in the subterranean maze of his imagination.”—Don DeLillo
“A storyteller of prodigious powers, able to conjure up whole geographies, causalities, climates, creatures, customs, out of thin air.”—The New York Times Book Review