Named for his cover identity, Rushdie's third-person memoir of life under the fatwa is both a precious document, and an immersive read.
Sprawling, intimate, surreal, it exerts a mesmeric hold. It tells the story of four marriages, two children; of fear, love, grief.
It hands out bouquets: to pals, protectors, campaigners, the Met. And it casts the odd curse – fiercely, on timid appeasers of the zealots' killing fury.
It also ranks as a landmark in the genre of "non-fiction novel": not In Cold Blood, thank the gods, but In Cold Sweat.