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  • Fury
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 3 October 2002
As a huge Rushdie fan, I came to read Fury with high expectations, and I was not disappointed. Although the novel may lack what has become thought of as the 'traditional Rushdie style', in other words, a lively and compelling tale of relationships, contrasts between East and West and a wild array of exciting and inspiring characters, Fury should be appreciated for these differences and not blindly shunned at first glance.
Instead of becoming entwined with characters and their actions, in the novel we instead become enveloped in that most volatile of emotions, fury. The protagonist, Milak Solanka, is almost completely overtaken by his own fury and the novel deals, often in the most covert of ways, with his attempts to deal not with others and outside events, but with himself.
Compelling, undeniably interesting, almost too clever for its own good yet ultimately enjoyable, Fury is certainly one of the best books published in the last year. If it were by anyone other than the great Rushdie it would be heralded as a work of genius.
Give it a chance, throw away your preconceptions of what a Rushdie novel should be, and take Fury for the fantastic novel that it is.
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on 5 December 2015
No - tried again with Salman Rushdie - still can't get on with his work.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 April 2016
At his best, Salman Rushdie’s uses language in a manner that few other authors can aspire to. In this book, set in New York, there are flashes of this but they are relatively few and far between. As the author pursues his examination of the culture of celebrity [of which he has become a prime literary example] the reader feels bombarded with the uncontrollable bile of a loquacious and aggressive party guest.

The other books by the author that I have read have impressed by their multi-layered complexity, pointed satire and characterisation. This book, perhaps because of the diffuse nature of its target, seems to lack energy and bite, with pages passing when Rushdie appears merely to be going through the motions. His metaphors are increasingly bloated – indeed the book reads, in part, as if it were a draft that lacks a final polishing and editing.

Malik Solanka, a brilliant Indian philosophy professor in his mid-50s has become a global celebrity through his design and marketing of a puppet, ‘Little Brain’, a little girl who interviews famous philosophers. After their show achieves world-wide success, Solanka sells out to commercial producers, but then finds himself appalled at what they are doing and falls into a fury. He has fled from his wife and family in England after finding that stress had caused him to wield a carving knife over his wife and young son. He arrives in New York [surely not the most sensible location to engage with ones inner raging demons] where he is caught up in the activities of the Concrete Killer and meets beautiful, damaged and famous people. Neither side of the Atlantic seemed well differentiated.

These fragmentary elements offer an abundance of ideas and opportunities, and one wonders what the Rushdie of earlier years would have made of them. Sadly, here they pass through the author’s field of attention but multiple digressions occur and the momentum of the storyline is dissipated. True, the author can do little about the very dated setting of the book during the Nasdaq boom and the Millennium, which is amplified by the references to contemporary pop culture, but so little of what he says offers an interesting or novel perspective on the period.

The characters, locations and situations that tumble out in the early part of the story are never corralled in a meaningful manner and, whilst aspects of the whole engage, there is an absence of unity. The individual characters do not engage with the reader so that interest in their stories and relationships dissolve as the contrived plot proceeds.

The obvious similarities between the lives of Rushdie and Solanka suggests that the former might have insights with which to inform the latter, but there is little evidence of this. Women, beautiful of course, abound but they are as lifelike as Solanka’s dolls and puppets. Ultimately the emotional distance that Rushdie creates between Solanka and the reader makes it difficult to credit his feelings for his family, friends and those who, rather surprisingly, feel drawn to him.

Fury is an apt title for this short satirical novel [as Solanka says ‘Life is fury. Fury—sexual, oedipal, political, magical, brutal—drives us to our finest heights and coarsest depths. This is what we are, what we civilize ourselves to disguise—the terrifying human animal in us, the exalted, transcendent, self-destructive, untrammeled lord of creation. We raise each other to the heights of joy. We tear each other limb from bloody limb’], but the author’s lack of overall control and structure in harnessing its different aspects represents a fatal flaw, 5/10.
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on 4 July 2007
A really enjoyable read!!! From the beginning Rushdie's narration is driven from the perpective of his protagnist Malik Solanka(a philosopher cum popular dollmaker) a character, who one can assume, is not unlike Rushdie (middle aged, tempremental and member of privilegded arty circles). The emphasis on Malik's perceptions gives Rushdie a platform to explore ideas that are seemingly specific to him but which are surprisingly universal. Plot wise it revolves around Malik fleeing to New York from London and his family. This escape is a result of a strange incident which has led him to believe he may possibly harm his family. In New York he is forced to make sense of himself and the world around him. This done by a his exploration of; the strange city he finds himself in; his roots in India; his marriages; his sexual daliances; his success as the creator of doll which has become a media sensation; his high soceity friends.

Due to the Fury's autobigraphical slant Rushdie indulges himself in a fair degree of -thinly veiled- self-aggrandisement. This is particularly evident in the media impact Malik's creation (a doll) has on mainstream culture. Also, Malik's other creations bizzarely become an integral part of coup on a politically tumultuous pacific island (think Fiji). However in spite of this, Fury is a good novel. In a lot of ways I found it similar to Saturday by Ian McEwan, not in regards to plot or even in terms of tone...however both Fury and Saturday seem to explore post-middle aged angst in a universal and human way.
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on 3 October 2002
This was my first Rushdie novel and I was relieved to find that it was a great read.
I must admit my initial impression was that the novel was pretentious and inaccessible. I struggled through the first few chapters, which are thin on plot and characterisation but rich with philosophical ideas and historical and literary references (half of which I needed to look up!).
However, once the story took over (and maybe also the author stopped trying quite so hard to impress) I really enjoyed the tale and admired Rushdie's intelligent narrative without feeling intimidated.
It is true that Rushdie borrows heavily from a diverse range of other writers, but he weaves the different styles together skillfully and I found this added to my enjoyment of the novel. I was delighted to find parallels between this work and that of many of my favourite authors including Raymond Carver and even Hubert Selby Jr. As a big fan of the former, I particularly enjoyed this novel's poignant final chapter.
I would recommend this novel and urge readers new to this author to stick with it through the first few chapters. It is well worth the effort.
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on 11 June 2003
This is the second Rushdie book I have read, and despite almost being put off the author by his self absorbed attitude, my faith has been renewed. Fury is an excellent book with some fantasic 'one liners' which really made you sit upright and think. His ability to stike a chord with the readers own life experience is amazing, even though the plot is far fetched, relevancy is still maintained. A great read - and I feel a slight sense of loss that closing the book waves goodbye to the main character.
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on 25 September 2001
For what is supposed to be a personal novel, "Fury" comes across as a book populated by authors other than Salman Rushdie. It just doesn't read like he's put any effort in at all, it is fast yet curiously devoid of any real emotion. Like a Frankenstein's monster whose stitches are coming apart, the book feels like a rag bag of different elements, none of which have a soul of their own
Lots of passages read like bad impersonations of great American writers. Rushdie is not Philip Roth so why try to borrow his bilious cynical style? He cannot get under the skin of New York so why try to be Paul Auster or Don Delillo? All the way through you wish for those writers to be writing this book, not Rushdie. This is a shame because he is normally such a mercurial writer. In "Fury" however he seems to top even Bret Easton Ellis for vapid contemporary references. What makes this even worse is the smug tone to it all. It seems to think that it is very clever when it sounds more like a man bragging in a bar.
For me, one particular passage sums up this messy novel. A back story about one of the characters (Eric [?] the jock boyfriend) is written in the pared down style of Raymond Carver and Richard Ford. The story is very reminiscent of both writers and the characters surnames are Ford and Carver. I think you are supposed to think this is clever and ironic but it sounds like showing off.
Rushdie is so much better than this,so much so that "Fury" feels like a bit of a cheat. Maybe this book was a way of getting something off his chest before embarking on a major work. I hope so
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on 3 October 2002
As a big Rushdie fan, I came to read Fury with high hopes and these were certainly not dashed. Rather than the overwhelmingly character-based and lovable epic of 'The Ground Beneath Her Feet', Fury is far more of a concept novel, a novel dealing with the mysteries of emotions. The characters may be more difficult to relate to than in his previous works, but this only helps the reader view the subject matter more objectively and works for the novel, not against it.
Interesting, lively, definitely enjoyable and at times paradoxical, this is a well writtern and compelling novel that is well worth a read if only to see what all the fuss is about!
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on 11 July 2002
Although perhaps not up to the standard of his previous novels "Midnight's Children", "Shame" or "The Moor's Last Sigh" (which also received a fair pasting, if I recall correctly) "Fury" is still miles better than many highly praised novels. What is it with the British literary establishment? You move to America and every book that you write thereafter is automatically proclaimed a turkey? Do yourself a favour and read this book. Sure, Rushdie is pretty much a "love him or hate him" author, but if you love him you'll not find too many reasons not to love this!
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Fury is Salman Rushdie's 8th novel. Professor Malik Solanka, historian and doll-maker, is living in New York, alone, voluntarily celibate, angry and afraid. He has left behind in England, Eleanor, his wife of fifteen years and his beloved young son Asmaan. He fled when he found himself standing over their sleeping forms with a knife. There's a fury in him and he fears he's become dangerous to those he loves. He's the creator of a doll, Little Brain, of which, when it became a phenomenon, he lost control: it now stands for everything he despises. We follow Solanka's tale as he tries to overcome his fury by losing himself in America at a time of unprecedented plenty. We learn some of his own backstory and watch his encounters with a young woman in a baseball cap, his acquaintances in New York and then a woman with whom he falls in love. This novel contains some self-deprecating seemingly semi-autobiographical snippets of Rushdie. There is some lovely prose worthy of this author, but much of the novel is Malik's stream of consciousness which is sometimes amusing or interesting, but is sometimes rather tedious. I enjoyed the backstory of the Puppet Kings and the way it blended into the real world. Not Rushdie's best work and certainly not my favourite.
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