The problem with being a celebrity writer is that all too often the celebrity takes over and the writer is ignored. He is more read about than read. His own life evokes more interest than the lives of his fictional creations. And people with no interest in literature believe they have the right to comment on the writer and his books.
That’s pretty much how it has been for Salman Rushdie. Everybody knows who he is. But not that many people have actually read his books. Even before Ayatollah Khomeini issued his murderous fatwa, Rushdie was already a celebrity, worthy of note and attention. Indira Gandhi sued him over the way he portrayed her in Midnight’s Children. Pakistan banned Shame. Nicaragua invited him to check out the revolution. (That trip resulted in his book, The Jaguar Smile.) British TV sent him to India to make a film about the country of his birth as it turned 40.