The publication of Salman Rushdie’s first book since The Satanic Verses has been and gone without upset or incident, a fact for which most of us will be grateful. Not that this should be surprising. There is nothing in the new book to offend on the scale of the content of The Satanic Verses, and however insoluble the mutual incomprehension between Islam and the West, most of us eventually grasped the point that The Satanic Verses nightmare was and continues to be a genuine reaction to a specific, if undeliberate, provocation, a reaction which was subsequently manipulated for a variety of political ends.
If there was no drama there was quite a lot of ballyhoo. I must declare an interest here as I produced a television film and interview with Mr Rushdie which caused a certain amount of press excitement. Publication day also coincided (quite by chance as far as I know) with