East, West: Stories
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From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Satanic Verses comes nine stories that reveal the oceanic distances and the unexpected intimacies between East and West. Daring, extravagant, comical and humane, this book renews Rushdie's stature as a storyteller who can enthrall and instruct us with the same sentence.
bottle of rosé wine. The waitress stiffened contemptuously. ‘The French for red, madam,’ she bellowed, ‘is rouge.’ Whatever it was, we drank too much of it. Later, aboard Bougainvillaea, we zipped our sleeping bags together and returned to Juhu beach. But at a certain moment she kissed my cheek, murmured ‘Madness, love’, and rolled over, turning her back on the too-distant past. I thought of Mala, my not-too-distant present, and blushed guiltily in the dark. The next day, neither of us spoke
resign. You should quit, too.’ ‘If you have gone so damn radical,’ cried Chekov, ‘why hand over these lists at all? Why go only half the bleddy hog?’ ‘I am a security wallah,’ said Zulu, opening the car door. ‘Terrorists of all sorts are my foes. But not, apparently, in certain circumstances, yours.’ ‘Zulu, get in, damn it,’ Chekov shouted. ‘Don’t you care for your career? A wife and four kiddiwinks to support. What about your old chums? Are you going to turn your back on me?’ But Zulu was
where liquor was freely available, did little for my father’s bonhomie, so in a way it was a relief to have a flat to ourselves. Most nights he emptied a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label and a soda-siphon. My mother did not dare to go across to ‘his place’ in the evenings. She said: ‘He makes faces at me.’ Aya Mary took Abba his dinner and answered all his calls (if he wanted anything, he would phone us up and ask for it). I am not sure why Mary was spared his drunken rages. She said it was
rubber gloves and there were roses in his hand. My father opened the door and gave him a withering look. Being a snob, Abba was not pleased that the flat lacked a separate service entrance, so that even a porter had to be treated as a member of the same universe as himself. ‘Mary,’ Mixed-Up managed, licking his lips and pushing back his floppy white hair. ‘I, to see Miss Mary, come, am.’ ‘Wait on,’ Abba said, and shut the door in his face. Certainly-Mary spent all her afternoons off with old
divorce, at which she fled to her room, locked the door and subsided into a raga of sniffling. Huma now lost her composure, challenged her father openly, and announced (with that same independence of spirit which he had encouraged in her) that she would wear no cloth over her face; apart from anything else, it was bad for the eyes. On hearing this, her father disowned her on the spot and gave her one week in which to pack her bags and go. By the fourth day, the fear in the air of the house had