tv Salman Rushdie The Golden House CSPAN December 25, 2017 12:35pm-1:20pm EST
stars faces on them, calls the old guy over, oh, where is ronnie? where is ronnie? he is not here. if this guy wrote the menu. she goes, well, he is president of the united states. she says, no, where is ronnie? always looking even when he was sick, wass looking out for her husband. she is a treat to hang out with. cspan: chris matthews 'latest book, bobby kennedy, a raging spirit. thank you for your time. >> great honor to be here at the book fair and with you. c-span is great. thanka you. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. good afternoon. great. i hope everyone is enjoying the
fair, yes? [applause] that's great. a few more of our fair-goers are coming in but we're going to get started in the interest of time. i am malou harrison. as many of you know very, very pleased to welcome all of you to miami book fair and to this next session. miami-dade college is very proud to bring this book fair to miami and thehe community that come to this miami book fair each and every year. as you know the fair would not be possible without the collaboration and the support from many, many volunteers, actually hundreds of volunteers, many of whom are students of miami-dade college, and also students from our local high schools, middle schools, as
well. so we're tremendously grateful to, our young people for the support that they provide and being so generous with their time. they're also many corporate sponsors and i would like to acknowledge ohl, and the many corporate and community sponsors that have also come together to make this book fair what it is today. our circle of friend, i always acknowledge you. yes, you can applaud, thank you very much. the reason we acknowledge you each and every time, we truly, truly value the fact we joined the circle of friend and your support mean as great deal to us. soea without further adieu i hae the distinct honor introducing the author. i would like to ask that you silence your devices, and we will move on with the program.
sir salman rushdie is a world-renowned novelist and essayist. he is the author of more than 11 novels and has earned numerous distinctions including being selected to serve as a fellow of the british royal society of literature. he was also selected as a distinguished writer in residence at the carter journalism institute at the new york university. his second novel, midnight child, won a booker prize. and that was deemed the best novel among all winners, marking the 25th and 40th anniversaries of the prize. there are so many other accolades i could mention but time is short. and i know you want to hear from salman rushdie. but he was also as you may know united by queen elizabeth ii for his many, many contributions to
literature. he is no stranger to the miami book fair having made appearances here many times and today he will talk to us about one of his newest novels, the golden house. give a warm miami welcome to salman rushdie. [applause] >> so thank you all for coming, always great to be here at the book fair. i can't remember how many times it is but it's been a few and you're stillme showing up. so, i so that is kind of a good sign. i've been, i was listening to george saunders before and he was talking about how he has been traveling with his book for a very long time.
i felt his pain. [laughter] and, you know, by the time you get around this point toward the end of the book tour, you begin to wonder what it is that you really want to say. i thought that what i wanted to say to you, my work, i think has been working its way towards america for a very long time. back in the late '90s, i wrote a novel called, the ground beneath her feet, partly set in india, partly set if england and partly set in here. that was different america t was really about the new york city when i first learned about came as a kid, i was like 24, 25 years old, i came to new york in the early 70s. you know, that other new york which was dirty and broke and
dangerous in parts and cheap. as a result of being cheap, it was full of young, creative people. so i found myself on my first trip to the city, in this downtown area of surrounded by young film-makers and musicians and writers and painters and so on, i thought how cool is this. that new york which the north pole which is cancer city and south pole was he beeb jeep heebie-jeebies. it's a novel about rock 'n' roll music and set in that place and in that time. gradually been working my way closer to the present moment. fury, my novel, fury,
had the bizarre fate of being published on september 11th, 2001. it was a novel about summer in new york really, the first year i spent there since i moved there to live. and the strange thing was i written this kind of almost like a comic satirical novel about that first page, the narrator says, about the city that it boiled with money. that incredibly, self-confident, affluent, greedy new york. i thought the novel would be kind of a satirical comedy about that. on the day of its publication it became a historical novel, because that city in a way ceased to exist and another slightly different city replaced
it and nobody did any book tours that year. a year later i was asked to do a reading at the 92nd street winery and i had no idea what the response would be like because everything was pretty raw and i had the strangest experience and i read this passage, what i felt coming off the audience was nostalgia. this kind of sense of nostalgia of that other place before the thing and that time there was a day in the "doonesbury" comic strip i like, one of the characters said to the other, you no i really miss september the 10th. what happened to that novel, on the day of its publication it mind of became september the 10th. itr became the novel of the day before. the novel i wrote before this, two years, eight months, 2nights, which if you do the
mathnd is 1001 was a new york novel but kind of a fairytale of new york. it was arabian knights story taking place in new york city and genies and flying urns, genies writing on flying urns. when i finished this, i thought i think i have taken this kind of writing as far as it can go. as far as i can take it, there is not much more for me to do down this particular road. i thought do something else. do something opposite. so this novel is a way that in part the answer to that instructionth to myself. which is you know, hold the flying carpets. never mind about the magic noses, you know, '86 the genies. to write the novel, a different sort of novel in new york which
in many ways is a kind of social panoramic novel. aa novel which i prepared with,i read books i'm not often associated with, books trying to do what i would try to do, capture a moment of the history of the city and the country. like, edith wharton's age of sentence. james baldwin's another country, novels like that. i also, this is novel about evil old patriarch with three messed up sons. and there is a very famous novel aboutso evil old patriarch with three messed up sons, called the brothers karamsov i thought i would pay my respects to dotchesky by checking him out. he wasn't much use, because what he is doing as a writer apart from the echo in the shape of the book there wasn't much that i gained through it.
the writer i got a lot from which i always get a lot from is charles dickens because one of the things that i've always admired about dickens and particularly tried to use in this book is contrast between the background and foregrounds of his books. the city of backgrounds of charles dickens book, the keynesian city is with a obsessive realism. incredible social detail, and natural listic accuracy. so the world of, there is that world, that cityd lives in our imagine even today because it is created with such incredible attention to minute detail. and, a thing that i have always admired about him, he seems to be able to talk about the whole of society. he is not just talking about his
own little patch. he can talk about a about aeries cokratz and murders, petty little shopkeepers, and anything happening in england at his time he is seems to be able to capture to put on the page. that breadth of vision, i tried to emulate it, in various books, certainly in this one. get out of your comfort zone. there is something important about writing. there is a way which the novel is like journalism. the novel is about reporting on the society. you know, spandau described the novel as a mirror walking down the road. you have to do that. you can't just w assume you know everything. for example in this novel, the nero golden, this evil, old patriarch, has been very involved with organized crime
back in his original home country of bombay, india, the city of bombay, nero golden not a indian name. a man named nero golden is already telling you somethingna about what he thinks about himself. this is not a modest man. anyway, he has this, this evil past. in order to create him i had to find out a lot about the bombay criminal mafias which was actually extremely enjoyable. i began to feel like mario puzo, translated into hindi. [laughter]. then when he is in new york he has these three sons who have different agonyies one is brilliant by high functioning autistic. one is conflicted about gender transition, whether to do that or not, one is very nostalgic for home, and doesn't like
really theic way he has been obliged tora relocate and there, and that meant, i mean i did start off with some knowledge of, i had some friend who are autistic. i have a couple of friend who have been involved in gender transitioning, so i had some, like personal experience as a kind of way of opening the door but then i had to go find out a whole lot more and i think it's, i think it's great when you come out out of a novel, end of a novel feeling better informed than when you began writing it. i hope that is also true about the reader, the reader at the end of the novel feel as better informed than they were at the beginning. it used to be always said, one of the functions of the novel was to bring the news. and now, theoretically that is not true because there are some other ways of getting information. but it seems to me the more was there are of getting more information, the less information we have, you know. this, i'm not even talking about
thee 45th president yet. [laughter]. but the internet is a place where garbage and truth coexists and seems to have the same level of moral authority. so i think actually it is very difficult for many of us to distinguish between those things and i think one of the great beauties of the act of writing and reading novels in a time like this, in a time, when reality and truth are, have become such disputed territory, is that one of the things that the novel has always been good at doing, is in a way making a contract between the writer and the reader. asd you read the book, you begn to form a joint agreement about the nature of reality. you know, if you like the book, you say, to yourself, yes, this is how it is, you know this, is
what we're look. this is how things are. and it is pleasing to the reader to be able to make that agreement about the nature of the -- we live in an age which we really need to start making that agreement again. we need to find ways of reading books, reading good books is one such way of getting a grip once again on what reality is and therefore, by the way, what it isn't. so i, this is in some sense a private novel. it's a novel about the family wits traumas and difficulties but of course it takes place in new york city at this very moment. it does something which you're taught not to do, which is to write a novel about the exact moment which the novel is taking place. you're told thatin you should he distancece and perspective and l that which, yes, you should. but i've not ever been very good at doing what i'm told to do.
[laughter]. and, as i say, there are some of the very greatest novels which have tried to do this thing of capturing the moment in which the book is made. "the great gatsby," the bonfire of the vanities. i'm proud this book is compared to the compared to bonfire of theto vanities, and "the godfather," what book could that, could that possibly be? apparently i have written it. that has to be enjoyable i think. but i did clearly if you're trying to get to grips with how things are. it's a difficult moment and a dark moment for somebody of my persuasion.
and i came to think this has tragicra aspects but a tragic family comedy but surrounded by the larger tragic comedy of america. the words donald trump, don't occur in the novel because i wasn't going to let him in. [applause] that's, but, the, there is at the background of a novel, at one point, the question of the 2016 election is there. it occurred to me in a deck of playing cards, there are only two cards that don't behave properly, and one of them is the trump anday the other is the jor [shouting] i thought i don't want the trump, so i will have the other one. so there is a character called the joker with green hair.
who runs for president, and wins that man nowhere to be seen, not in age of heroes. so there is that. so there is context of the novel not only political context. if you're writing this novel, grabbing what used to be called the zeitgeist, you have to try to grab everything it's people obsession with cronuts or occupy wall street or whatever. you have to let the book be elastic enough to let what is going on at the time of its writing. that was quite enjoyable to do. that is a story within a story. the story of a broken family inside the story of a broken country and i think that's really the thing i wanted to emphasize because, actually if
the election had gone the other way i wouldn't have to change hardly anythinghe because it ses to me that in many ways trump is an effect, not a cause and the rift in america would have been there if hillary had won, if trump was somehow to dematerialize tomorrow, it will still be there, and so, the rene, the w young filmmakers, te narrator of novel who investigate this is mysterious family, he is very anguished about his country. that is what he is anguished about. he is anguished not so much about a particular candidate but about this incredibly divided reality which people can't agree even on a simple thing like what is the case. that was the book i wanted to write, about a private fracturing set inside of a public fracturing and then make it funny.
i think i have got time. i will read you a little bit because one of the most unexpected things about this book because a character i had thought of beingar a minor character, there is a point where nero golden comes to miami and meets somebody that, there is no people like this in miami, an extremely beautiful, very ambitious, gold-digging russian girl. [shouting] you can, completely fictitious. [laughter]. and she gets her hooks into him. and i just would read you a little bit how she does that. but the most puzzling thing or surprising thing about this book, ever since it has come out, been reading people really like her. people say to me, that russian girl, she is kind of cool. she is the most self-seeking, selfish, amoralse character in e
book. but yes, you kind of dig her. this is really a surprise to the author. to read to you a little bit about her. you can decide what you think. got ten minutes then we'll have some questions. read you a few little passages. here is, about the russian girl. she is striking, one might say she is astonishing. she has long dark hair. her body is long and expect al. she runs marathons and fine gill specializing in ribbon element in gymnastics. in her youth she came close to the russian olympic team. her region of origin is siberia. she comes to desent from the great he can moresser who wrote many books about the region including the one that became a
film. thisgi line of descent is not confirmed because as we will see is a brilliant liar, accomplished in the art of deceit. she decides she wants to come to america. she wants to go to america and bee adored and send u.s. dollas back to her family at home. shoe is what she has done. she a has flown coop. he is in america and new york city and now in florida, much-admired, making money doing the work the beautiful do. many men desire her. she is not looking for a mere man, she wants a protector, a czar. here is vasily, she own as magic doll. she was sent by her wicked stepmother to the home of the witch who ate children who lived in the heart of the heart of forest, it was the magic doll helped her escape so she begin
her search for the czar, so the story goes. but there are those who tell it differently saying that she did eat vasilya gobbled her done like all the other ones, when she did. she acquired all the young girl's beauty, she became the spitting image of her though remained sharp to babaga on the inside. this is vasilya in miami. she is blonde now. she is about to meet her czar. she is on fisher island. [laughter]. i mean where else would she be? the vanderbilt house is the heart of the island. rewind,nd here is william vanderbilt the second on 250-foot yacht making a swap deal with theviller carl fisher. the yacht in exchange for the
island. shake hands on that. here is bebe birosa accused at time of watergate, accused of nixon's bagman, with a group of guyt who bought the island who bought thehe island from the guy that bought the island from have been der built. it has a history. has observatory. it has previously stated peacocks. . . admiring their property epa the island also has a much talked about november and april love affair. my money for your beauty shake hands at that. anyway, so she seduces because
what chance do they have.af everything you want she says when you want it, it is yours. on the third night, she discusses business. this is not a shock to him. this makes it easier. business is his comfort zone. she produces a printed card the size of a postcard with boxes to tick. let's go through the details. obviously i should not stay in the house on mcdougall street. that is your family home. mam not your website not your family so you can choose a resident for convenience for easeam of access on the upper et side for discretion. this is also my preference. two bedroomss minimum and maybe one more bizarre studio space.
would you like to own it or is it a rental. for how many years. think about it. we proceed to the car and necessity to you completely. mercedes convertible, bmw six series, lexus suv. o nice. i love you. the question arises of where i would have a couch. burned off, see both of the above. this goes without saying. equinox camisole house,, you see thee checklist. the subject of a monthly allowance. i must comport myself in a manner this issue. you see 10, 15, 20 and i recommend generosity. yes, and thousands of dollars, darling. well said, you will not regret it. i will be perfect for you.
i speak english, french, german and, italian, japanese commandment transgression. iced tea, water ski, surf, robinson. my gymnastic use this i retained. in the coming days i will know better how to satisfy you than you know yourself and if it's needed to assist us, if a room must be good but a scholarly playroom and will make sure it is done immediately and with great discretion. you never look at another man. no other man will touch me, nor will i tolerate any appropriate advances or remarks. you deserve it must have exclusivity in the sewers i swear to you. there is one more matter for later. this is the matter of marriage she says lowering herer voice ta husky most alluring level. as your wife will have honor and family. only as youi rightfully truly d fully have this.
until then i am happy. i am the happiest and most loyal of women but my honor is important to me. you understand. of course. you are the most understanding man i've ever met. [applause] semi-unexpectedly popular veiling just goes to show that sometimes people like bad girls better than goodar girls. anyway, so there it is coming this novel about new york and america now with part of a industry from across the world. and it's very interesting, the first time i've written a book which contains, which could be described as something like a mystery because there is this dark secret. the family has arrived going to
enormous lengths to change their identity to conceal their past. of course to write such a book i have to know the answer to why i'm in a way you have to construct the book backwards. you have to decide exactly when to trip bits of information to the of information to the readers here is sometime it's disinformation. there is deliberate misdirection and now, over there when everything is over here. the president is good at this. but it was fun to write a mystery in one of the non-writers to really help me to it is alfred hitchcock. strangely, the place in greenwich village where the novelists set was 100 yards away from what hitchcock had in mind and it has a kind of real window
feeling. the central sending is this private communal garden in the heart of the village, which actually exists where the characters can enact their stories will be watched by everybody living all aroundge them. hitchcock of course is the great master suspense and misdirection and so on and it's a little bit hitchcockian in this boat. eventually you find out what the secret is in the hopee you like it. [applause] okay, so it got 10 or 12 minutes for questions. if you have some, the microphone is over there. standing up in the idol of her year. i will try and answer. >> yes, i wanted to know in the
book of men while had anything to do with what you are talking about. [inaudible] >> and no, sir? >> al-assad. >> in terms of writing about. >> you couldn't have named two more different writers in terms of their technique. i am a great admirer. i think his novel is one of the great novels. yes, very cool. balzac somehow that kind of french - realist tradition i thk i'm a little bit more to do with this book because the book isn't quite -- while common for
example, there is a wonderful moment in his novel, the very beginningwo of the novel which s almost like a cinematic zoo, where it starts off he says this is the city baking in the sun and then he says in the city, this particular neighborhood in this particular neighborhood is like this. in this neighborhood, here is this house in this is that the houses like an occupied by people certain kind of out in elegance. he has this one in the middle of the room there's a chair and i'm not chair there is this woman. by the time you get to her, you already know so much because of the way the book contextualizes her. i thought it was a brilliant device. when you come across the brilliant device the best thing you can do is stealvi it.
i remember this one spared william faulkner was once accused of plagiarizing, which may be -- he said i take whatever he needs from wherever i can find it. and what i can do differently. i don't think many writers would throes of the genius. anyway, yes sir. >> i don't have a prolific question like that one, but a ditch see you on curb your enthusiasm. [applause] i would like to know what it was like to work with larry david and the show totally improvised that you come up with bob cowboys. >> it is all a part.
i met him a couple of times casually and then he got in touch with me out of the blue and said he had written this thing and didn't want to be in it. i said what thing is that in could i see a script. he said well, that is difficult because there is no script. and i said can you tell me something about it and he told me two or three sentences. and then i arrived and there was a moment to thinking how could i be the only person on curb your enthusiasm was no good, when you're surrounded by these brilliant comedians who are so good at improv. they are very good at making you feel comfortable. it's not just improv. you know you're supposed to get from here to there, but how you do it is up to you.
there were certain lines that i am proud of. comparing the pixie dust, and that's my line. there is actually a pit that is cut out, which if you go to the curb your enthusiasm face but page, they have deluded thing and there is a deleted scene, which is c in between the two scenes i i am in great comes to visit me in my house, the unbelievable mentioned by servants and then we go to this restaurant. there's a scene when we are leaving the house to go to the restaurant and when we are walking out, he says to me in something like other females? yes, i think there are a few female butlers. it is because god the better the casino butler because then
there'd would always be the possibility of sex. and i would say no, no, you don't understand. there's a ruley in about the rl world. the rule is don't the butler. [applause] and that was my line. [laughter] all i could say it was two of the most enjoyable days i've had for a long time. >> thank you. speak in a five block, a six-year-old in tehran and my mom told me this is why you shouldn't criticize. fast-forward 20 years am an ex-muslim right now still being told by americans and canadians2 they shouldn't kurtz despise
islam in the name of diversity. my question is how d.c. dynamics between islamic culture in western culture play out and what would you suggest to me another ex-muslims has the best approach to talk to the westerners and muslims can make an honor. thank you. >> i think just say what you think. you can't second-guess people. if you believe things to be true, you should say them. islam is not immune. the set of ideas is just because the lipservice to a non-service kind of god. [applause] i mean, even hear myself the hear myself yet but my friend christopher hitchens. now that christopher is no longer with us, i probably like one notch up in the line of most
aggressive atheists. so i don't see any reason to give religious ideas respect. i just think you have to make a distinction between human beings and ideas. it's perfectly right people should not be persecuted and racism should be called out and does exist, et cetera. that is fine. but that does mean you have to pussyfoot around ideas that you think are not right. if you think the world is flat, have to be about to tell you you are an. and then you have to be allowed to tell me why you think it is flat. if it looks flat, then i will tell youat you are an again. there has to be free play in the discussion of ideas. you just have to distinguish between that andeo attacking hun beings. different things.
people and ideas in a good word of this conversation. [applause] look, it's a very long subject and i don't have time. >> you think of her there wouldd be in a balance between islamic culture and westerners on cloture? >> i have no idea. no sign of it yet. >> thank you very much. >> hi, mr. rushdie. i have actually database to me. as a screenwriter and i heard about christianity back in 2006. i started reading up on it and i started to question it and hired a comedy screenplay is the story was told from a feminist mary of nazareth point of view and refuses to calling from god and i got a lot of pushback once it was finished. keep the liquid of favorite but then i'm like what have i written about.
how did you handle it when the titanic came out in the pushback and how did you overcome that? >> well, i would not recommend it. last night it was very difficult. a book you may be interested given in what you just said is a book called the great novel marker readout, which details untrendy tells the story of the view of pontius pilate and that's only one of the narratives in the book. it's a different change of angle about the kind of thing you're talking about. if you had asked me in 1989 this is what's going to happen in the next decade and handy thing to be at the end of it, i would have not backed myself, breaking
the outcome you discover sometimes you are more resilient than you thought you were. i am not glad to be at this industry because now story because now it's a long time ago. satanic verses where is my fit public bush, so this is my 18th. most of my life as a writer comes after it. it seems like a long time ago. i am proud of it and i'm really pleased that now the fuss is less, the book is finally being read as a novel. being studied and so on. itll has the life of a novel. some of it and some people are somewhere in between and that is the ordinary life of the book and that's whatn it was denied for a very long time. i'm glad you can finally have that life worth fighting for in the small principle called free expression, which is worth fighting for, particularly in
these times when they have administration which is very keen on the second amendment, but not so keen on the first. [applause] >> thank you. i've only got two minute. >> this may require less because you touched on it, but have you speculated much about what you might think about this day and age? what whom i think? hitch? christopher hated the clintons. christopher's dislike of the contents of his pathological. he was far too smart to buy into tribal india. he would have been quite conflicted.
we need him but we don't have him. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. thank you, salman rushdie. miami book fair. thank you very much. [applause] >> hello, welcome. today we are going to hear from two people. katy tur it probably needs no introduction to this crowd and someone. someone at the cbs news correspondent and also mr. katy tur today. previously a senior writer for nbc news very published an article that led to his book. he holds masters