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Grimus: A Novel (Modern Library Paperbacks) Paperback – September 30, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Flapping Eagle, the immortal hero of this fantasy, tires of existence, he travels to Calf Island, home of Grimus, the man who granted him eternal life, and shakes things up a bit. In its 1979 review, PW termed this an "artful first novel. . . . There are a few passages where Rushdie seems to be trying too hard, but in general, after a slow start, the book takes off like Flapping Eagle's namesake."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A fireworks of a book: beautiful, funny, and endlessly surprising.” —Ursula K. Le Guin

“A mixture of science fiction and folktale, past and future, primitive and present-day. . . . Thunderous and touching.” —Financial Times

“Grimus is one of those novels some people will say is too good to be science fiction, even though it contains other universes, dimensional doorways, alien creatures, and more than one madman. . . . A book to be read twice . . . Grimus is science fiction in the best sense of the word. It is literate, it is fun, it is meaningful, and perhaps most important, it pushes the boundaries of the form outward.” —Los Angeles Times

“Ambitious, strikingly confident.” —The Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812969995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812969993
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #615,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sir Salman Rushdie is the author of many novels including Grimus, Midnight's Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown and The Enchantress of Florence. He has also published works of non-fiction including, The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, The Wizard of Oz and, as co-editor, The Vintage Book of Short Stories.

He has received many awards for his writing including the European Union's Aristeion Prize for Literature. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres. In 1993 Midnight's Children was judged to be the 'Booker of Bookers', the best novel to have won the Booker Prize in its first 25 years. In June 2007 he received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
The most obvious thing to say about Salman Rushdie's first novel is this: if you have read no other Rushdie, put it down now and return to it after you have read one of his other novels.
Grimus only resembles Rushdie's other work in a nebulous and tenuous way. It is not as complex, rich, or engrossing to read as his later work. That said, this book is probably best left to Rushdie completists; if you want to read absolutely everything he's written, then go ahead. Otherwise, approach this book with caution: it alone does not fairly represent the Rushdie that is considered one of the best writers of the current generation.
Not to say that this is a bad book. By no means is it bad. It just isn't exceptional. The writing is somewhat fumbling, and even a little clumsy and overbearing in places. Rushdie has said that he found his voice while writing his second novel, "Midnight's Children" and Grimus reads like someone who is searching for a path or a voice, not someone who is on firm footing; this novel provides direct evidence of Rushdie's statement.
The bizarre story deals with immortality, created worlds, other dimensions both inner and outer, and outcasts. Flapping Eagle, or Joe-Sue, or Born-from-Dead is an Axona indian who has a lighter complexion than the rest of his people; add to this that his mother died seconds after he was born and you get an outcast. He is not easily accepted, but his sister, Bird-Dog, protects him. She also presents him with the elixir of eternal life (in the form of a yellow liquid) and she disappears mysteriously from the land of the Axona.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
Very mystical and very confusing, this is Rushdie's first work and if you enjoy his later stuff this is worth the read. If you have never read Rushdie it is a great book to begin with.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey S. Hineman on May 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
There are few living writers that gain immediate recognition as true artists in their time, along side Pynchon, DeLillo, and perhaps Vonnegut, is Salman Rushdie. Before The Satanic Verses and before the fatwa there was Grimus.
The first impression of this book, gleaned from the initial 50 or so pages is that we are face to face with an unrefined Rushdie. His penchant for dabbling in mythology, spirituality, canonical literal echoes, and Joycean word play are on full display. Being his first book, I was surprised that someone would pick up such chaotic prose as an author's debut. But trusting the author, I stuck it out. I'm glad I did.
Our protagonist, Flapping Eagle�who also goes by the names Born-From-Dead and Joe-Sue in the first handful of pages�essentially has been given the "gift" of eternal life. Staying the same age for hundreds of years, Flapping Eagle decides he no longer wants to live, but to finally die a mortal's death. He has to go to Calf Island and ascend Calf Mountain to meet Grimus, much like a mythological Wizard of Oz. That's the premise.
Along the way, Flapping Eagle befriends Virgil Jones and his lady, Dolores O'Toole. The disfigured couple are the first clue that something is dreadfully wrong on Calf Island. Jones the obese is with O'Toole the humpback. The two really are remarkable and Rushdie gets lots of mileage from the two, creating a sympathy for them that never ventures into pity.
A host of characters and themes are introduced, mythology has served Rushdie well and one gets the impression that Joseph Campbell would have enjoyed the playfulness and overlapping of Native American and Asian-Indian concepts. As we grip this overlap, Rushdie sends Flapping Eagle to find Grimus with Virgil Jones as his guide, echoing Danté.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
I recently read Salman Rushdie's "Grimus" for my Commonwealth Literature class in university. This is the only book I have read by Rushdie and I did not know what to expect. The novel was, at times, confusing; the story will start with one character, then abandons that character for a time and moves on to another; sometimes the narrative voice changes suddenly from first person to third, and most confusing for me, the novel seems to be a mystery, and the reader is not sure of who or what Grimus is until the end of the story. But having said that, I can also say that the story is beautifully told and utterly fascinating. I took my Commonwealth class with Dr. Uma Parameswaran, one of the first serious scholars of Rushdie. She explained to our class that Rushdie wrote this novel for a science fiction contest - an interesting bit of trivia, but also, this should give you some idea of the story as well. It is science fiction, but it also social commentary, I felt...and a fascinating read. The only reason why I gave the novel four stars is because at times it seems to includes references to sex that I felt were only there for the sake of sensationalism, and I also have a problem with Rushdie's depiction of women (they were either whores, or stupid, or stupid whores). At any rate, I still believe that this novel is worth purchasing...and if you have read other Rushdie novels, people I know that have read this novel and his other works say this one is quite different. Just so you know!
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