Just finished Salman Rushdie’s “The Ground Beneath Her Feet”.
Good but not his best. A Rock’n’Roll version of the Orphic myth ending with a Lennonesque celebrity murder. (That’s not a spoiler because the cover blurb already makes it clear that only the heroic narrator survives.) Perhaps Rushdie is not quite hip enough for the rock’n’roll, but well written and a great read none-the-less, with the mix of erudite bookish and slang argot language. Plenty of Bombay roots, and east-west philosophy and mythology as ever, and a patchwork of phrases from popular songs woven into the narrative itself. Lots of plays on real band names, and people composed of two or more real people. The whole of the real-time universe in the plot in a slightly different one from the one the reader is in. Kennedy being shot by a magic bullet that killed both he and his brother the day Bobby was shot. The whole idea that Nixon might ever have been president a running joke. Never quite recovers its compelling page-turning quality from the point when the main female hero dies at the book’s climax.
Don’t know why, but I feel the need to rank the Rushdie I’ve read before deciding to read any more.
Midnight’s Children (1981) – the “Booker of Bookers” – Truly majestic.
The Satanic Verses (1988) – Wonderfully surprising.
The Enchantress of Florence (2008) – Literally fabulous.
The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999) – Comparatively good.
Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990) – Difficult to appreciate.
May try the Vintage Book of Indian Writing next, an anthology edited by Rushdie ?
[Post Note : Subsequently read his autobiographical “Joseph Anton”
– a good read but just two brief mentions here and here.]
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