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Fury: A Novel Hardcover – September 4, 2001

3.0 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Fury is a gloss on fin-de-siècle angst from the master of the quintuple entendre. Salman Rushdie hauls his hero, Malik Solanka, from Bombay to London to New York, and finally to a fictional Third World country, all in order to show off a preternatural ability to riff on anything from Bollywood musicals to revolutionary politics. Professor Solanka is propelled on this path by his strange love of dolls. He plays with them as a child; as an adult he quits his post at Cambridge in order to produce a TV show wherein an animated doll, Little Brain, meets the great thinkers of history. Little Brain becomes a smash hit, and perhaps inevitably, Solanka finds himself in America. (It's not only the show-biz version of manifest destiny that brings him to the New World: one night in London he finds himself standing over the sleeping figures of his beloved wife and child, frighteningly close to stabbing them. This intellectual puppeteer is, of course, fleeing himself.)

Now, in New York, he is filled with wrath. Solanka is far from being an Everyman, but his fury is a kind of Everyfury. It's road rage writ large--the natural reaction to an excess of mental traffic. There are several books running simultaneously here: a mystery, a family romance, a bitingly satirical portrait of millennial Manhattan, and a sci-fi revolutionary fantasy. A single fragment gives a sense of Rushdie's reflexive multiplicity: when Solanka finally faces his memories of childhood, he recalls "his damn Yoknapatawpha, his accursed Malgudi." Here's a writer who, leading us into the tender places of his protagonist's soul, stops long enough to reference not just Faulkner but Narayan as well. If it sounds like a bit of a mess, it is. If it sounds frighteningly intelligent, it's that too. --Claire Dederer

From Publishers Weekly

The sea change has invigorated Rushdie. His new novel is very much an American book, a bitingly satiric, often wildly farcical picture of American society in the first years of the 21st century. The twice transplanted protagonist (Bombay born, Cambridge educated, now Manhattan resident) Prof. Malik Solanka is an unimaginably wealthy man, transformed from a philosophy professor into a BBC-TV star, then into the inventor of a wildly popular doll called Little Brain. Compelled to relinquish control of the doll when it metamorphoses into an industry, the furious Solanka flees London for an apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side. His prose crackling with irony, Rushdie catches roiling undercurrents of incivility and inchoate anger: in cab drivers, moviegoers and sidewalk pedestrians; in ethnic antagonisms; in political confrontations; and in Solly himself, as he tries to surmount his guilt over having abandoned a loving wife and three-year-old son in England, and as he becomes involved with two new women. Rushdie's brilliantly observant portrait of "this money-mad burg" is mercilessly au courant, with references to George Gush and Al Bore, to Elian and Tony Soprano, and to "shawls made from the chin fluff of extinct mountain goats." The action is helter-skelter fast and refreshingly concise; this is a slender book for Rushdie, and his relatively narrow focus results in a crisper narrative; there are fewer puns and a deeper emotional involvement with his characters. Still, his tendency to go over the top leads to some incredulity for the reader; it's a bit much that short, unprepossessing Solly is a magnet for gorgeous, articulate women, who all tend to speak in the same didactic monologues. On the whole, however, readers will nod in acknowledgement of Rushdie's recognition that "the whole world was burning on a shorter fuse." Rushdie remains a master of satire that rings true with unsettling acuity and dark, comedic brilliance. Agent, Andrew Wylie. 8-city author tour. (Sept. 11)Forecast: Rushdie has never been so sharply observant of the American psyche and the contemporary scene, and thus so relevant to U.S. readers. His increasing visibility after the isolation of the fatwa years should create a buzz of interest in this novel.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (September 4, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067946333X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679463337
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,216,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Most critics have described the latest novel of Salman Rushdie as a failure. Very simply, they are right. The contrast with Rushdie's three eighties novels are striking. Midnight's Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses were not only amazingly inventive and ingenious, they were also both deeply moving and very cutting politically. Midnight's Children included a horrifying description of Pakistan's unspeakable brutality against Bangladesh in 1971 as well as the thuggishness of Indira Gandhi's State of Emergency. Shame, of course, was a damning portrait of Pakistani politics, caught between a vicious military and clerical elite and a demagogic populist pseudo-socialism. The Satanic Verses, in turn, was a brilliant attack on British racism and insularity, Islamic fundamentalism and Hindu communalism. And throughout all these books there was the alternative of a secular and leftist politics. After writing The Satanic Verses, of course, Rushdie was forced to spend his life in hiding from the death threat issued by the Iranian government. Although Rushdie has gradually been allowed to be seen more and more in public, he has been isolated from his native India and Pakistan, and from much of the plebian vitality that infused his novel. At the same time Pakistan and Indian politics have become even more hopeless. The possibility of either secularism or a leftism or even a politics seems increasingly remote.
The consequences of this on his fiction are clear. The New York that depressed academic and millionaire Malik Solanka arrives is the gaudy world of celebrity and power, the city as viewed by the writer on hiding on brief vacation. It is not the communities of Jewish, "working-class Catholic," black or Hispanic communities.
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Format: Paperback
I dont think Peter Wild has a fundamental enough grasp of Rushdie's work to be called into the "spotlight review" by Amazon though he is a person and entitled to an opinion. The fact is this is *not* the same type of work Rushdie has done in the past--it is not nearly so grand or as "magical"--so I dont think you should be putting it on that same level of comparison. This is an entirely different animal.

"Fury" is an impressive work nonetheless. Rushdie has long been known by himself and others as a "metropolitan intellectual" and his primary concern is with this interaction b/w city environs and the individual and how one's personal identity can be transformed, shifted, literally "translated" from one continent to the next. This is no different. Rushdie's characters have always relied on this premise of *metamorphosis* and building an alchemist's substance into the character as he progresses from one state to the next. This is a fascinating process and it continues to be one of the major aspiring reasons why his work continues to be read.

I don't think it's fair to accuse Rushdie of being some secondhand Roth rip-off. Philip Roth, as much as Salman Rushdie, deals with personal identity issues and the conflicts that ensue against the forces that try to shut them up. In this regard, I actually consider them very much the same in drawing up this process of *self-identity*. It's important, and people want to know this. Rushdie and Roth are both in the same company when it comes to affirming an individual against oppressionist forces, be they conservative Jews or fundamentalist Muslims.

But back to the work, "Fury" is an interesting work, not really for its departure from his previous more grander novels, but for its brevity and realism.
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Format: Paperback
Furious. The word means extremely angry or violent, but it can also mean anything involving violence, anger, or speed (such as "Fists of Fury" and the absurd "The Fast and the Furious"). Its roots reach back to Greek mythology, to the three snake-haired, bat-winged, and dog-faced goddesses Tisiphone, Alecto, and Megaera. These three horrible deities were the vengeful hands of the gods, punishing evil and wrongdoing, especially within families.

In FURY, Salman Rushdie uses every variation on these definitions, and the etymology of the word itself, to describe with modern life in America (as represented by New York City) and the fragility of family, relationships, and perhaps even sanity. Rushdie sarcasm cuts sharp and deep. His New York (no, his America) is an empty land, a moral vacuum filled with sensationalism, tawdriness, superficiality, materialism in the extreme, capitalism run rampant, self-serving and incompetent politicians the endless striving for publicity without sense of shame, culture without depth, and, like a drug addiction (note that both his heroes studiously avoid medicines and drugs of any kind), a continuous search for the constantly escalating "fix" that gives the citizenry their latest cheap thrill or sense of meaning. "The whole world was burning on a shorter fuse. There was a knife twisting in every gut, a scourge for every back." Rushdie also conceives three female Furies of his own (Solanka's wife Eleanor Masters, his cyberpunk neighbor and father-figure seeking Mila Milo, and the enchantingly beautiful Neela), and they indeed each exact their form of vengeance on the main character and sinner, Professor Malik Solanka.
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