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Salman Rushdie delighted to be on Booker list

‘I’m happy to be chosen alongside such terrific writers’

By PTI

  • Published 4.09.19, 2:42 AM
  • Updated 5.09.19, 3:32 PM
Salman Rushdie.
Salman Rushdie. (Shutterstock)

British Indian author Salman Rushdie, whose recently released novel, Quichotte has been shortlisted for this year’s Booker Prize for fiction, said he was “delighted” to have made the cut.

This is the fifth time that the Mumbai-born novelist has been shortlisted, including the 1981 win where he bagged the award for Midnight’s Children.

“It has been nineteen years since The Moor’s Last Sigh made it to the shortlist, so I’m obviously delighted. I’m also happy to be chosen, alongside such terrific writers, to be part of an interesting, strong list,” 72-year-old Rushdie said.

Quichotte is inspired by the classic Don Quixote by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes.

It tells the story of an ageing travelling salesman who falls in love with a TV star and sets off to drive across America on a quest to prove himself worthy of her hand.

The book, which is the fourteenth novel from the award winning author has been published by Penguin Random House India.

In Quichotte, Salman Rushdie has again caught the zeitgeist by writing a novel that engages hilariously and meaningfully with the absurdities of the contemporary world, taking in pop culture, TV soaps, America’s opioid crisis, giants of world literature, and much more besides.

Quichotte offers moments of pure pleasure for every reader. We are delighted to be Salman Rushdie’s publisher, and not surprised that he is once more in line for the Booker Prize for Fiction,” Meru Gokhale, publisher of Penguin Press, said.

The 2019 shortlist for the Booker Prize for Fiction also includes The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak, Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann, and An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma.

“Like all great literature, these books teem with life, with a profound and celebratory humanity,” said Peter Florence, founder and director of the Hay Festival and Chair of the Booker Prize judging panel this year. The shortlist was selected from 151 submitted books published in the UK or Ireland between October 2018 and September 2019.

“A picaresque tour-de-force of contemporary America, with all its alarms and craziness. Rushdie conjures a celebration of storytelling and language that will delight lovers of Cervantes, lovers of daytime television and lovers of life,” was the comment of a five-member judging panel.

Canadian author Margaret Atwood is shortlisted for The Testaments, which the judges describe as “terrifying and exhilarating”.

The panel said this year’s shortlist offers an insight into different worlds from the dystopian setting of Gilead, the monologue of an Ohio housewife and the tragicomic tale of a travelling salesman in America; to mostly female, mostly Black, British lives across generations, the trials of a young Nigerian man on a quest to improve his prospects and true allegiances within the brothels of Istanbul. 

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