Tariq Ali is known to readers of this magazine as one of the most trenchant and articulate critics of imperialism. This collection of his articles, diary entries, reviews and interviews, published over many years, takes us in a different direction and reveals Ali’s passion for literature.
When his writing is at its strongest it can make you want to read books that you long ago decided were not for you – in my case, Don Quixote, passages of which are revealed as a fascinating commentary on both the Cold War and today’s so-called clash of civilisations.
The articles on and interviews with Salman Rushdie, centring on his novel Midnight’s Children, are a treat. They place the award-winning work in the context of earlier British writing on India, particularly Paul Scott’s The Raj Quartet, which Ali insists “portrays the marriage between the colonial administration and the indigenous landed gentry with a rare subtlety and sensitivity.” read more