In this brilliant collection - his first major work of fiction since The Satanic Verses - one of the great writers in the world today gives us nine stories that together reveal the intricate intimacies and unbridgeable distances between the East and the West. A rickshaw driver dreams of being a Bombay movie star while, in a futuristic Western dystopia, legendary Hollywood icons acquire magic powers. Indian diplomats who as childhood friends hatched "Star Trek" fantasies must boldly go into a hidden universe of conspiracy and violence; and Hamlet's jester, too, is caught up in murderous intrigues. In Rushdie's hybrid world, an Indian guru can be a red-headed Welshman, while Christopher Columbus is an immigrant, dreaming of Western glory. A young Pakistani woman faces a journey to England to meet the husband she does not know; an elderly Indian lady in London must choose between love and home. With profound sensitivity, Rushdie allows himself, like his characters, to be pulled now in one direction, now in another. Yet throughout this collection he remains, really, a writer who insists on our cultural complexity; who confidently rises beyond ideology, refusing to choose between East and West.