Starting with the now classic Midnight's Children
, voted the Booker of Bookers, followed by Shame
, The Satanic Verses
and the triumphant The Moor's Last Sigh
, Salman Rushdie has established himself as one of the most compelling storytellers in contemporary fiction. Throughout Rushdie's writing runs the belief that without the democratic, irreverent, subversive playfulness of stories, we lose our sense of humanity and identity and sink into the nightmare of history which his novels so powerfully indict. The pursuit of such beliefs has of course left a lasting impact on Rushdie himself, from the violent response to his indictment of Pakistani politics in Shame
to the response of Islamic fundamentalism to The Satanic Verses
, to which Rushdie's ultimate response was the deeply moving study of religious and cultural tolerance in The Moor's Last Sigh
. The Ground Beneath Her Feet
sees Rushdie one again pillaging the founding myths and stories of East and West from which he creates an astonishing parable of the ways in which, as the title itself suggests, even the ground beneath our feet is not as stable as we might like to think.
Rushdie has always been fascinated by contemporary culture and in particular cinema, most brilliantly evoked in Shame and his non-fiction. The Ground Beneath Her Feet finds Rushdie immersed in the world of rock 'n' roll, so successfully that one of the novel's spinoffs has been the recording of Rushdie's lyrics by U2. Vina Apsara, Greek-American trash, and Ormus Cama, son of a disillusioned Bombay lawyer and Anglophile, meet in 1950s Bombay, creating one of the most tortuous but enduring rock partnerships which spans the next 40 years. With Rushdie's usual breathtaking panache, the story of their families and histories unfold as the narrative develops, recounted by Umeed Merchant, aka Rai, photographer and sometime lover of Vina. Rai recounts the on-off relationship between Vina and Ormus as he moves across the trouble-spots of the world, photographing upheavals and atrocities, before securing the ultimate final picture of Vina, swallowed by the earthquake which opens the book, and which recurs throughout the novel like the guitar riffs which the baby Ormus plays as he first emerges from the womb.
Cannibalising the stories of classical history, the novel offers an updating of the myth of Orpheus, the greatest of all musicians, and his doomed wife, Eurydice. Transmuted from Greece, via India, and thrown into the postmodern world of rock and roll, Rushdie weaves a magical narrative of the melding of East and West, in song and in story, as the novel careers across the globe. From a wonderfully comic portrayal of London in the swinging sixties, to the sex and drugs and rock n roll of New York in the seventies, Rushdie's canvas grows more ambitious than ever, held together by the love triangle of Vina, Ormus and Rai and its final tragic unravelling, as the ground moves beneath their feet in one final ironic twist.
The Ground Beneath Her Feet finds Rushdie at the height of his powers, exploring love, loss, migration, displacement and the seismic effects of cultural difference. As one of the many songs that Rushdie weaves into his story goes, "I know it's only rock n roll, but I like it." --Jerry Brotton
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.