Fury Paperback – 5 Sep 2002
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Even before it published, Salman Rushdie's novel Fury was the subject of controversy. Holland's literary community was livid that a novel written by a non-Dutch writer was funded by their government. Rushdie watchers will spend column inches playing "spot the unmistakable biographical references": the main character Malik Solanka is a 55-year-old Indian professor; he later comes to live in England and flees to New York, leaving his wife and young son; in America, he falls for the beautiful Neela, clearly modelled on Rushdie's partner. However, tempting as it may be to focus on the circumstances of a book, rather than the text alone, ultimately it is the prose that must speak for itself.
The Fury of the title refers both to the mid-life rage of the protagonist, who finds himself standing over his sleeping wife and son armed with a kitchen knife, and the mythological furies who tore to pieces those men whom the gods had judged. As in his previous novel The Ground Beneath Her Feet, he explores the relationship of the artist to his creation and to his audience. Solanka--Cambridge philosopher, doll-maker and possible serial killer--is the unlikely and unwilling creator of a pop-culture phenomenon that comes to represent everything he despises about modern cultural malaise. He is a part-creator of a culture he hardly understands--an anachronism. The novelist's prose reflects this alienation, but unfortunately with few insights or pleasures for the reader used to his contemporary mythological lyricism. Rushdie's pop references check-list the late 20th-century US from Clinton to OJ to the World Wide Web, and this, combined with their built-in obsolescence, renders Solanka/Rushdie's narrative strained. The urban culture of New York and Webspeak provide rich seams of traditional and new vocabularies and grammar for this most magpie-like of playful language lovers to line his literary nest with. However, in so doing, he cuts himself off from the emotional intensity and drive, combined with layered cultural complexity, that has distinguished his work, the most celebrated being Midnight's Children. Rushdie at his best is an intriguing writer; ultimately, it may be easier to extract him from the media circus that surrounds him than from the comparisons with his own compelling body of work. --Fiona Buckland --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Rushdie is an irrepressibly playful entertainer, as well as web-weaving story teller -- Ruth Padel, Financial Times
Rushdie has found inspiration in New York, and pulls apart he citys every nuance in this dark brilliant comedy -- GQ
Thrilling writing A simmering novel, as crammed with passion and potholes as a New York street -- Boyd Tonkin, Independent
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Top Customer Reviews
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
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quite a strange Rushdie novel - one minute brilliant, insightful and enthralling - the next tedious and repetetvie. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Neil
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... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dr R
No - tried again with Salman Rushdie - still can't get on with his work.Published 7 months ago by hampshire
A disturbing and fascinating read, one that will stay with you for years.
I both disliked and identified with the main character, and found his motivations ambiguous,... Read more
Hard work to begin with - but worth it!
A slight departure from what I usually read, but thoroughly enjoyed it!
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. Read morePublished on 21 Aug. 2011 by Cloggie Downunder
Perhaps the greatest modern writer serves up a flourish of literary prowess and snobbery all injected with the usual lucid expression of the keenly observed. Read morePublished on 7 Sept. 2009 by G. C. Brown
This is Salman Rushdie's most autobiographical novel. It is also his most readable. Fury tells the story of Cambridge Philosopher turned legendary doll maker Malik Solanka who is... Read morePublished on 12 Mar. 2007 by Sam J. Ruddock