Salman Rushdie: ‘It might be the funniest of my novels’ – Fiona Maddocks

On the 21st floor of a building near Central Park, New York, a corridor of closed doors and discreet nameplates leads to that literary holy of holies, the Wylie Agency. Known in the book trade as “the Jackal” on account of his business tactics, Andrew Wylie’s clients include the gilded living such as Martin Amis, Dave Eggers and Milan Kundera, and the illustrious dead, among them Mailer, Updike, Bellow.

When the electronic latch clicks open for admission, the atmosphere inside is so hushed I whisper my intention – an appointment with their most refulgent star of all: Salman Rushdie. The receptionist whispers back, in a manner that suggests I may have got the time, date, place or perhaps even the person, wrong “Salman?… You mean Salman Rushdie?” No one stirs or shows any interest. Another day, another interview to publicise another new book. In this silent laboratory where literature and commerce collide, the work continues.

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