"The simplest way to describe it, which is, of course, not necessarily the best way to describe it, is it's a murder story. I decided to murder an American ambassador (laughs)...The novel actually begins in California. He's a retired, very elderly, very distinguished gentleman who suddenly, out of the blue, gets knifed to death by his Indian-Kashmiri chauffeur on the doorstep of his grown-up illegitimate daughter. And the novel becomes the story of those three people, the story of the murderer, the man and his daughter."
One hopes -- sincerely, truly, deeply -- that the book is better than Mr Rushdie's past few efforts, which have left one somewhat underwhelmed.
Oh, and here's his advice to would-be novelists:
"I guess the best advice I can give has to do with perseverance. You know, my writing career did not begin easily. I graduated from college in 1968. The first time I really had any success as a writer was "Midnight's Children," which was in 1981. So there was like 12½ years of paying my dues. Some writers are lucky that they get there right away with their first book, like Joe Heller with "Catch-22" or whatever. But one of the things that I found was essential to the business of becoming a writer was to have that determination and perseverance to keep trying in the face of failure and without any guarantee of success. And if I look back at my young self, battling away for a dozen years, I'm very proud of that. And I'm not sure now, if somebody asked me would I start work in some field where it would take you 12½ years without any guarantee at the end of it that you would be any good at it, I mean I would not do that....You'd be crazy to do it. But I think writers, when starting out, are crazy in exactly that way (laughs)."
Sigh. I guess one has to hold on to one's day job, after all.