Imaginary Homelands, By Salman Rushdie

Anyone picking up this collection of essays might reasonably expect extensive reflection on the events that pushed Rushdie into the headlines. Instead, much of the contents seem fusty and oddly irrelevant.

Four pages are given to a 1988 interview with Vietnam reporter Michael Herr, three pages on Geoff Dyer's 1987 study of John Berger ("points up the utter humourlessness of Berger") and three pages on Graham Greene's flimsy 1988 novel The Captain and the Enemy. There is fine commentary here (on Roth, Kipling, Calvino), but it should have been appeared in a new selection not a lazy reprint.

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