So Sir Salman has won the 'Best of the Booker' prize for Midnight’s Children to mark the 40th anniversary of one of the world's most prestigious literary awards. Good for him.
In 1981, when he was first awarded the Booker, it was by his peers. Now it is through an online poll.
Victoria Glendinning, chair of the panel who drew up a shortlist, said: “The readers have spoken in their thousands. And we do believe that they have made the right choice.”
Now the “thousands” really numbered 8000; Rushdie got 36 per cent of the votes among the six shortlisted writers, which amounts to 2880.
Two thousand eight hundred and eighty people around the world cast their votes for his book.
The report says: “At least half the voters were under 35, and the largest age group was 25-34, 'a reflection of the ongoing interest in quality fiction amongst readers of all ages’.”
A couple of things can be concluded from this. Young people are hugely interested in the Partition, so for those who say who cares about it, here is your answer. Two, Salman Rushdie has the baggage of the martyred Satanic Verses. It isn’t merely interest in quality fiction – did those who vote confirm that they had read the book and were they asked specific queries pertaining to the work? – but Rushdie’s reputation.
Even a simple account of the award could not do without mentioning how there were riots in the Muslim world (did not know we had a special world, now we need our own planet too, I guess) and “culminating in a death edict against Mr Rushdie by Iran's supreme religious leader, forcing the author into hiding for nine years”. The Ayatollah is dead and nine years are over.
"How will the Islamists react?" Oh dear, if you so desperately want them to, why don't you stand outside some mosque with your own loudspeakers and try it out?
Stop feeding this to those who voted; they were on an average still in kindergarten when Midnight’s Children was released.
MC, like much of Rushdie’s writings, is luscious and iconoclastic.
I still prefer Shame, but I have said this before.