The list of those in the public eye to whom I have taken an instant dislike is quite long. Inevitably, those first judgements don't change - their subjects merely become increasingly more irritating as time goes on. Salman Rushdie was an early member of the list; just a few paragraphs of the Satanic Verses revealed his unique brand of petty pomposity. Along with Billy Connolly, Terry Waite, Neil Oliver, Maya Angelou, Griff Rhys Jones solo and Noel Edmunds he shares an instant channel-change effect for the TV; I will instantly stab the face of the remote at random just to get any one of them out of the parlour immediately.
Zoe-with-an-umlaut Heller's hatchet job in the NYRB on Rushdie's Joseph Anton is therefore a welcome winter-warmer, to be relished at a slow read with a pint of hot spiced cider at one's side. Rushdie is not an attractive person, and Heller has his measure. Splendid stuff.