“Why, oh why, did Salman Rushdie in his new novel call one of his major characters Maximilian Ophuls?” John Updike, reviewing Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown in the New Yorker last year.
“A name is just a name. ‘Why, oh why … ?’ Well, why not? Somewhere in Las Vegas there’s probably a male prostitute called ‘John Updike’.” Salman Rushdie answers the question in the Guardian this year. After that, saying that he didn’t subscribe to the very predominantly English admiration of Updike seems kind of redundant.
Rushdie’s had other things on his mind, anyway, like the Anish Kapoor sculpture based on his work:
The centrepiece is a sculpture made in collaboration with the novelist Salman Rushdie, consisting of two bronze boxes, joined by a wedge of malleable red wax, and inscribed with a text by Rushdie based on an episode from the Arabian Nights. Inside the open boxes is a grisly pile of dark-crimson globs that look for all the world like freshly extracted internal organs.
“It’s very gory,” the artist says with a mischievous smile. “Salman has written a text about death, blood, men and women, domination – a kind of diary of slaughter. The first sentence says, ‘So how many women did they actually kill?’ And I thought I would make a shrine. I’ve been making works with bloody things for a good long while now. Red’s a colour I feel strongly about.”
Can’t wait to see it. And we have it on good authority that none of the “dark-crimson globs” were, in fact, extracted from the innards of Mr Updike.