The Booker Prize-winning Midnight's Children (1981) marked a decisive commercial and critical upturn in Salman Rushdie's career as a novelist. The instantly recognisable face of postcolonial literature, Rushdie now finds himself in a unique position in global culture, following the fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini on publication of The Satanic Verses in 1988. This novel has brought down the weight of fundamentalist politics on a writer regarded as a paradigm of postmodernism, and become the very real embodiment of a multitude of debates at the heart of contemporary criticism. In this Readers' Guide, David Smale traces the critical reception of this fascinating writer by examining the changing responses to his two best-known works. As a novelist and icon, Rushdie has embraced both 'popular' and 'high' culture; reflecting this, the Guide brings together both academic criticism and journalism to investigate the passions and preoccupations of Rushdie's many critics, steering the reader through the inflamed debates and rhetoric surrounding this much admired but controversial author.
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