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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Fury (2001) by Salman Rushdie

Book Review
Fury (2001)
 by Salman Rushdie

 The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999) marks a new phase in Salman Rushdie's career, where he transitioned from a serious literary author to a global media celebrity.  The Ground Beneath Her Feet is an alternate universe rock and roll phantasia, largely set in New York City with characters who spend their adult lives as international media celebrities.  Two years later, Fury comes out, featuring an older male professor who has invented an international media property based on a doll.  It's more complicated than that, but also not really.

 Malika Solanka, a Bombay born, Cambridge educated, millionaire-professor-inventor, has decamped to New York city, abandoning his wife and young son in England. A serial killer stalks the streets of New York, praying on young socialites, Solanka takes a vow of celibacy but promptly falls for not one but two "manic pixie dream girls."

  Rushdie, by virtue of talent and celebrity, has earned his lifetime audience, but Fury really is not his best work.  The "older man rejuvenated by sex with a much younger woman" is tedious beyond belief, particularly after the focus on the abuses of men with power in the entertainment industry.  Surely, everything that can possibly be said about this dynamic has been said.  Best to just draw a line under the genre with The Human Stain by Philip Roth being the last one through the gate, before the gate is shut.  Horny old men, obsessed with sex with young girls and their prostate.

  Fury is another 1001 Books selection from the final decade that feels random, merely reflecting the fact that Rushdie put out a book in 2001.  Picking in 2004 and 2005, they would only have a vague idea which titles might be canonical and they got it wrong with Fury.

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