Self-Absorption Writ Large

Self-Absorption Writ Large
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

With reflections on everything from the rise of autofiction to Trump and Covid, a collection of Salman Rushdie’s 21st-century nonfiction ought to be a treasure trove, but it feels more like watching someone rooting around down the back of the sofa for loose change.

One problem is that, as a rule, these repurposed forewords, op-eds and speeches are plonked down without so much as a date, producing a kind of chronological whiplash as you yo-yo from one obsolete reference to the next. Rushdie promises they are all “thoroughly revised”, but I spotted scant evidence of that, save for a Dominic Cummings-style tweak to a 2018 piece titled Truth, bemoaning “the erosion in public acceptance of... evidence-supported facts about the coronavirus, or climate change, or inoculations for children”.

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