Salman Rushdie

A master storyteller's favorite memoirs.



Salman Rushdie is the revered author of several novels, including Midnight's Children, winner of the Booker of Bookers, and The Satanic Verses. The latter's publication precipitated the events described in Rushdie's new memoir, Joseph Anton: his flight into hiding after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini proclaimed a fatwā requiring Rushdie's execution in 1989. Reviewer Graeme Wood calls it a book that "rattles with the terror of the moment." This week, Rushdie points us to three favorite memoirs. (It's worthwhile to compare these picks to his previous fiction recommendations.)


Books by Salman Rushdie



Living to Tell the Tale

By Gabriel García Márquez


"The highest praise one can give this memoir is that it's the equal of his fictional masterpieces, as beautifully written and imagined as any novel; and his description of the visit to his childhood home in Aracataca -- which he would re-invent as Macondo -- stops the heart."





The Liars' Club

By Mary Karr


"A book of tough, laconic beauty, both hard-boiled and lyrical, this is a landmark work of what is being called 'the age of the memoir.' Karr grows up in 'one of the ten ugliest towns on the planet' and yells and fights her way out of it. Unforgettable."





A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

By Dave Eggers


"This book is celebrated for its adventurous re-invention of the memoir form, with much post-modern trickery: the 'staggering genius' part of the title. But at its core, it's a profoundly moving story of an older brother doing his best to raise his younger brother after both their parents die within a month of each other. This, the 'heartbreaking work' beneath the brilliance, is what endures."

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.