Summary and book reviews of Fury by Salman Rushdie

Fury
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2001, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2002, 272 pages

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Book Summary

Fury is a work of explosive energy, at once a pitiless and pitch-black comedy, a profoundly disturbing inquiry into the darkest side of human nature, and a love story of mesmerizing force.

"Life is fury. Fury-sexual, Oedipal, political, magical, brutal -- drives us to our finest heights and coarsest depths. This is what we are, what we civilize ourselves to disguise the terrifying human animal in us, the exalted, transcendent, self-destructive, untrammeled lord of creation. We raise each other to the heights of joy. We tear each other limb from bloody limb."

Malik Solanka, historian of ideas and dollmaker extraordinaire, steps out of his life one day, abandons his family without a word of explanation, and flees London for New York. There's a fury within him, and he fears he has become dangerous to those he loves. He arrives in New York at a time of unprecedented plenty, in the highest hour of America's wealth and power, seeking to "erase" himself. Eat me, America, he prays, and give me peace.

But fury is all around him. Cabdrivers spout invective. A serial killer is murdering women with a lump of concrete. The petty spats and bone-deep resentments of the metropolis engulf him. His own thoughts, emotions, and desires, meanwhile, are also running wild. A tall, green-eyed young blonde in a D'Angelo Voodoo baseball cap is in store for him. As is another woman, with whom he will fall in love and be drawn toward a different fury, whose roots lie on the far side of the world.

Fury is a work of explosive energy, at once a pitiless and pitch-black comedy, a profoundly disturbing inquiry into the darkest side of human nature, and a love story of mesmerizing force. It is also an astonishing portrait of New York. Not since the Bombay of Midnight's Children have a time and place been so intensely and accurately captured in a novel.

In his eighth novel, Salman Rushdie brilliantly entwines moments of anger and frenzy with those of humor, honesty, and intimacy. Fury is, above all, a masterly chronicle of the human condition.

Professor Malik Solanka, retired historian of ideas, irascible dollmaker, and since his recent fifty-fifth birthday celibate and solitary by his own (much criticized) choice, in his silvered years found himself living in a golden age. Outside his window a long, humid summer, the first hot season of the third millennium, baked and perspired. The city boiled with money. Rents and property values had never been higher, and in the garment industry it was widely held that fashion had never been so fashionable. New restaurants opened every hour. Stores, dealerships, galleries struggled to satisfy the skyrocketing demand for ever more recherch produce: limited-edition olive oils, three-hundred-dollar corkscrews, customized Humvees, the latest anti-virus software, escort services featuring contortionists and twins, video installations, outsider art, featherlight shawls made from the chin-fluff of extinct mountain goats. So many people were doing up their apartments that supplies of high-grade ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Rushdie writes, "Life is fury. Fury–sexual, Oedipal, political, magical, brutal–drives us to our finest heights and coarsest depths." Consider what he means by assigning all of these implications to the word. How does it play into the plot and characterizations of the novel? Why do you think he chose it as the title?

  2. What do you think is the significance of the fact that Fury is set in a very specific place during a very specific, and recent, time? Consider the events Rushdie talks about, the major political and social players who surface throughout the novel, and the name brands, TV shows, and other cultural icons he mentions at regular intervals.

  3. Describe Malik Solanka. How does his profession play into his personality?...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

Book - The Magazine for the Reading Life - Paul Evans

Fury flaunts all of Rushdie's intimidating gifts.... Not only is the book smart, it also happens to be Rushdie's most entertaining..... What linger after the entertainment are the questions the book raises about nature and artifice, coercion and acceptance, and the transforming value of fury itself.

Kirkus Reviews

Malik is a very fully realized character, and Fury positively vibrates with intellectual energy (it's also frequently quite funny). But it's still more tirade than novel, Rushdie's weakest book since his (justly) forgotten first novel (Grimus).

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.

Booklist - Brad Hooper

His vibrant, metaphorically soaring language is the fuel that runs this outlandish, poignant novel to its amazing conclusion.

Reader Reviews

punyajit gupta

Fury
Malik Solanka in Fury has been projected by Rushdie as an Odyssey of individual's conflict against ever imposing power of society to categorize any thing on the basis of difference. Solanka through out the novel has been portrayed as a collector and...   Read More

punyajitgupta

Fury - an escape or an introspection
In Fury, Salman Rushdie has tried to come to term with the Tsunami of Globalization gobbling local sentiments and even their distinct identities. Novel "eat me" concept has been harbored from Malik Solanka's consistent struggle to maintain ...   Read More

cloggie downunder

not my favourite Rushdie
Fury is Salman Rushdie’s 8th novel. Professor Malik Solanka, historian and doll-maker, is living in New York, alone, voluntarily celibate, angry and afraid. He has left behind in England, Eleanor, his wife of fifteen years and his beloved young son ...   Read More

Anonymous

At 55, the Indian born, NY dwelling protagonist of Rushdie's latest novel Fury, has the kind of rage which causes him to stand with a knife over the sleeping bodies of his wife and son, scream in public, and slip between the red heat of anger to ...   Read More

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