The Joker’s America was ‘a kind of radical untruth: phoniness, garishness, bigotry, vulgarity, violence, paranoia, and looking down upon it all from his dark tower, a creature with a white skin and green hair and bright, bright red lips’. And in England, its ‘prime minister was narrowing the definition of Britishness to exclude multiplicity, internationalism, the world as the location of the self. Only little England would do to define the English’. You didn’t read that in an op-ed piece sometime in September last year. You read that, unsurprisingly, in Salman Rushdie’s new novel The Golden House, an American thriller in which the history of the present becomes an adjective to the existential drama of its finely sketched characters.
Literature rarely changes the world. But when we read a book we love, it changes the way we see the world, and the artist’s vision becomes ours as well. This is the power of literature, and the beauty is that neither the writer nor the reader knows when or if the magic will happen
Rushdie doesn’t write state-of-the-nation novels. He is more ambitious. He holds the world in his palms. He plays with it. He argues with it. In his last novel, stretching from the original romance of Obama to the revenge of the Joker president, too, the ideas and attitudes of our time make his imagination compellingly intimate. And as always, it begins in Bombay.
Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Public Square
Salman Rushdie, Author | Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Political scientist | Nandan Nilekani, Infosys Chairman | Srinath Raghavan, Historian | Ram Madhav, BJP Leader | Swapan Dasgupta, Political commentator and MP | Shashi Tharoor, Scholar Politician | TCA Raghavan, Historian | Ramachandra Guha, Historian | Brahma Chellaney, Strategic thinker | Uday Shankar, President, 21st Century Fox, Asia | Anantha Chandrakasan, Technologist | Gita Gopinath, Economist | Soumya Swaminathan, Paediatrician and clinical scientist | Prasoon Joshi, Poet and Censor Board chairman | Madhav Khosla, Scholar | Sidharth Luthra, Lawyer | Shayara Bano, Triple Talaq Petitioner | Reuben Abraham, Economic Analyst | Pratima Joshi, Architect | Reetika Khera, Economist | Shamika Ravi, Economist | Sharmila Bhattacharya, Scientist | Vijay Prasad, Historian | Nayanjot Lahiri, Historian | Avani Chaturvedi, Fighter Pilot, IAF | Pranshu and Nishant Patni, Entrepreneurs
Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Soft Power
Virat Kohli, Captain, Indian Cricket Team | Priyanka Chopra, Actor | Jeet Thayil, Author | Anju Dodiya, Artist | Alia Bhatt, Actor | Rajkummar Rao, Actor | Chetan Bhagat, Author | Jahnvi Dameron Nandan, Perfumer | Rupi Kaur, Poet | Parvathy Thiruvothu, Actor | Sujatha Gidla, Author | Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, Architect | Prayaag Akbar, Author | Ruchika Sachdeva, Fashion Designer | Palghat R Ramprasad, Carnatic musician | Unni R, Author | Kunal Kamra, Comedian | Vikas Khanna, Chef and Television Personality | Shoojit Sircar, Filmmaker | Srikanth Kidambi, Badminton Player | CS Santosh, Off-Road Biking Champion | Mayank Austen Soofi, Author and Blogger | Ratish Nanda, Conservation Architect