An account of the intimate, flawed encounter between the East and the West in a stunning "re-make" of the myth of Orpheus
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 Keeper of Bees
She had been perspiring heavily and the sodden bedsheets stank of the meaningless misery of the nocturnal encounter. Raúl Páramo was unconscious, white-lipped, and his body was galvanized, every few moments, by spasms which Vina recognized as being identical to her own dream writhings. After a few moments he began to make frightful noises deep in his windpipe, as if someone were slitting his throat, as if his blood were flowing out through the scarlet smile of an invisible wound into a phantom goblet.Vina, panicking, leapt from the bed, snatched up her clothes, the leather pants and gold-sequinned bustier in which she had made her final exit, the night before, from the stage of the city's convention centre. Contemptuously, despairingly, she had surrendered herself to this nobody, this boy less than half her age, she had selected him more or less at random from the backstage throng, the lounge lizards, the slick, flower-bearing suitors, the industrial ...
If you liked The Ground Beneath Her Feet, try these:
"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."
"Naipaul's style is so frank it seems intimate ...behind the matter-of-fact style is a cuttingly ironic view of human relations...when Naipaul talks, we listen." Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize.
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