The Ground Beneath Her Feet is Salman Rushdie's most ambitious and accomplished novel, sure to be hailed as his masterpiece.
If rock 'n' roll is America's gift to the whole world, then The Ground Beneath Her Feet is Salman Rushdie's gift to America in return, a great contemporary love story and a dazzling, dancing vision of the modern era, which pulsates with a half century of music. His first novel to be set largely in the United States, it's a celebration of Americana, a brilliant examination of what the world means to America, and what America means to the world.
At the beginning, Vina Apsara, a famous and much-loved singer, is caught up in a devastating earthquake and never seen again by human eyes. This is her story, and that of Ormus Cama, the lover who finds, loses, seeks and again finds her, over and over, throughout his own extraordinary life in music: the story of a love that extends across their entire lives, and even beyond death.
Their epic romance stretches from the cosmopolitan Bombay of the 1950s, through the vibrant London scene of the '60s, to the last quarter-century--intense, frenzied, crucial--of New York life. It is narrated by Ormus's childhood friend and Vina's sometime lover, her "back-door man," the photographer Rai, whose astonishing voice, filled with stories, images, myths, anger, wisdom, humour and love, is perhaps the book's true hero. Telling the story of Ormus and Vina, he finds that he is also revealing his own truths: his human failings, his immortal longings. He is a man caught up in the loves and quarrels of the age's goddesses and gods but dares to have ambitions of his own ... and lives to tell the tale.
Around these three, the uncertain world itself is beginning to tremble and break. Cracks and tears have begun to appear in the fabric of the real. There are glimpses of abysses below the surfaces of things. In the words of one of Ormus Cama's songs: It shouldn't be this way. The Ground Beneath Her Feet is Salman Rushdie's most gripping novel and his boldest imaginative act, a re-imagining of our shaken, mutating times, an account of the intimate, flawed encounter between the East and the West, a stunning "re-make" of the myth of Orpheus, a novel of high (and low) comedy, high (and low) passions, high (and low) culture. It is a classic tale of love, death and rock 'n' roll.
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
...[A]ddresses the themes of exile, metamorphosis and flux, and...examines such issues through the prism of multiple dichotomies between home and rootlessness, love and death, East and West, reason and the irrational....[T]he opening portions of the novel are animated by scenes that conjure up the burbling, Dickensian life of Bombay with Mr. Rushdie's patented elan...[H]e has called [the book] 'an everything novel'...
The New York Times Book Review
...[E]xuberant and elegiac...his best since Midnight's Children....What Rushdie is doing goes well beyond joke and whimsy. The world of this novel...exists at a wide angle to reality but also makes us wonder what would happen if the angle closed....[I]n this book...he finds...a direct line to the world's ashamed unconfident heart, and makes us laugh with the sheer proliferating energy of his call.
The Times (UK)
Ultimately, The Ground Beneath Her Feet is a triumphant hymn to the transforming power of love, boldly asserting that fate is only a fiction and that you can sometimes strengthen history by speculating on its alternative outcome.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Ray Kania
It is essentially a book that marks the history of his coming from exile back into the world as a free man. The themes give us something to grasp on too, and carry us through this story that will try to shake us up and change our views.
Review (not rated)
by Anonymous Philth Nippert I'm always impressed whenever a contemporary story blends with overtly mythical dimensions to come up with something new, and that's the kind of story The Ground Beneath Her Feet is. It has other facets too, of course: a... Read More
"Kundera is so bounteously gifted with insight that even a slender story like that of Ignorance is edifying, filled with intellectual surprises and flashes of the imagination."
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