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3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  1,814 ratings  ·  123 reviews
“A mixture of science fiction and folktale, past and future, primitive and present-day . . . Thunderous and touching.”
Financial Times

After drinking an elixir that bestows immortality upon him, a young Indian named Flapping Eagle spends the next seven hundred years sailing the seas with the blessing–and ultimately the burden–of living forever. Eventually, weary of the same...more
Paperback, 253 pages
Published 1977 by Panther Books (first published 1975)
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Petra X
This is a horrible book. Not even the author rates it! It is interesting only because Rushdie plays around with the magical realism that will play a major part in his writing and touches on themes he will later explore in much greater depth.

I don't recommend anyone who is thinking of reading Rushdie to think that as this is one of his shorter ones it would be a good one to start with, it really isn't a good read. Rather go for Shame with the wonderfully drawn character of the Virgin Ironpants (B...more
Taylor Kate Brown
A recipe:

Grimus, by Salman Rushdie

1 future famous author
30 helpings of Attar (see: Mantiq al-Tayr, aka "The Conference of the Birds")
1 love story
MIT's theoretical physics department circa 1985 and
a pinch of W.T.F

Bake for 10 years on high.

Serves 1.
The most striking part of this story was that it presents a world in which people are aware that the world they inhabit is only one of a series of alternative worlds. The burden of immortality , with which the protagonist grapples throughout the novel, sheds light on the absurdity of our daily neccessary denial of our own mortality. This is shown through the idea of "dimension fever".The residents of Calf island are required to occupy themselves with a singular idea in an effort to preserve the...more
There are so many reason why I will feel a book is "good". Sometimes, it's simply the writing. If a writer can turn a phrase into something that just touches me in some way, THAT is a good book for me. Sometimes, it's just a character I come to love or a story I find intriguing. And sometimes, just sometimes, it's a book that just stays with me for no apparent reason that makes it good. This book's writing wasn't particularly moving, the story was just too bizarre to truly grasp, the characters...more
Having read a couple of Rushdie's most acclaimed books before this one I expected "the usual" Rushdie style. It was nothing like this. The book is early, and his writing - undecided, not fully grown up. And that's precisely what I liked about it. I mean the story is crazy, and I like crazy. But the words, the writing style (someone might say: inmature) I would call open (yet). The sentences are rough, but the story - clear. Normally I would rate it 3 stars, but this early language, that leaves a...more
3.5 stars
Grimus is Salman Rushdie���s first novel. Part fantasy, part folk-tale, and part science fiction, this book is a blend of mythology, mysticism, and religious symbolism. The book tells the tale of Flapping Eagle, a Native American man who becomes immortal and wanders the world for 777 years, 7 months, and 7 days until he attempts suicide and ends up in another world (a parallel dimension). The book is based on a 12th century Sufi poem and covers themes of human identity and meaning.

Paul Hamilton
For an author who I've heard of spoken in such reverent tones for so long before finally acclimating myself to, my first exposure to Salman Rushdie's work was not at all revelatory. In retrospect, starting with Rushdie's first novel, Grimus, and one the author himself has spoken ill of, may not have been the most prudent way to experience the work of a storied novelist. And, truth be told, literary fiction as read voluntarily is kind of a new engagement for me though my initial choice to try Gri...more
No. Just no. Rushdie never lacked for imagination, and it is ample evidence here. But sometimes, all that imagination can go absolutely nowhere. This book not only feels like a fever dream, but also makes as much sense. Which is to say, not at all.

Flapping Eagle is an (Amer)Indian, who has been given a potion for immortality doesn't drink it. Then he does. Then he wanders around aimlessly for seven hundred years, during which he comes across a mysterious figure wielding a stone wand. Nothing ha...more
The debut of Rushdie was a fantasy novel which follows Flapping Eagle to Calf Islandlooking for his sister Bird Dog. Flapping Eagle has the gift of immortality which really is not something he desires but it makes it possible for him to make it to Calf. Calf is where people who have immortality go to live. The story touches on a variety of mythology of Sufi, Hindu, Christian and Norse and many concepts and philosophy. It was not well received but it isn't hard to read. It's not Rusdie's best but...more
Apu Borealis
A remarkably assured beginning for a first book. All the Rushdie hallmarks .. Flamboyant, vividly imagined, stylishly written, and science fiction or fantasy, to boot. I wonder why he chose this genre for his first outing. Perhaps he hadn't yet considered magic realism. Sci-fi's loss, mainstream's gain. Conversely, one wonders how many Booker-worthy writers are hiding their light under the bushels of genres considered not literary enough.
For some who think his fame is owed more to his life event...more
Book Wormy
Grimus Salman Rushdie
On the surface this is a story about Flapping Eagle and his quest to find his "sister" Bird Dog. Bird Dog has been given 2 potions of immortality by the mysterious Sipsy one is for her and one is for Flapping Eagle, Bird Dog drinks hers straightaway and when Flapping Eagle refuses to follow suit she runs away to join Sipsy.
Years later Flapping Eagle decides to drink the potion and to find his sister which takes him several hundred years and at least one dimension...more
yow. incredible journey. the first chapter was my favorite. my favorite moment? when the rocking chair stopped. beautiful & simple. loved reading it as it was rushdie's first foray into fantastic realms. i prefer his other works, but as rushdie's 'beginning,' found the read fascinating. i would say the read was more interesting than the end, but enjoyed it nonetheless. oh, and p.s.? there was a brilliant meta-moment about 2/3 of the way into the book. loved it.
Grimus strives for luminescence in poetry, philosophy and science fiction. But what it achieved was more of a garbled mess. Sometimes the prose became so tangled up in its own cleverness that I had a rough time figuring what was happening. The protagonist Flapping Eagle came off as such a pawn of fate that I found it difficult to feel anything but a kind of impatience about his behavior. Often, he simply did whatever he was told or he rebelled at the wrong moments. His pursuit of his sister, Bir...more
Rushdie critique's his own work in this book. Read carefully the debate between Gribbs, Elfrida, and Irna about whether stories should be well tied together or not. It seems to be the issue that Rushdie struggles with in his first novel. There are moments of mystery, but the drive to tie all the ends together makes it a bit too neat in the end.
Josie Shagwert
actually a horrible book. but even rushdie said that about it! it was his first novel, and really sucked. but it is worth reading because he wrote it - and if you are an aspiring author it should give you hope that you can write a piece of crap and come back to be an amazing and well-respected writer.
Meghan Fidler
"--The simple fact, said Virgil Jones, is that Grimus is in possession of a stupendous piece of knowledge: that we live in one of an infinity of Dimensions. To accept the nature of the Dimensions involves changing, entirely, our ideas of what we are and what our world is like. The rewriting the book of morality and priorities from the beginning. What you must ask yourself is this: is there such a thing as too much knowledge? If a marvelous discovery is made whose effects one cannot control, shou...more
Bradley Smith
While this book may be Rushdie's first, and therefore, lack some of the polish an genius he is known for, Grimus is a gripping and imaginative tale, which explores the human condition, gender, sexuality, and desire through immortality and its price.
I liked the narrative and the underlying assumption of how no culture can exist in isolation forever without self-destructing. That knowledge completes a being and a complete being can only be dead. I liked the attempt to frame it as a myth, and in fact, the literary and style references to various mythical traditions abound in the book. This is definitely not one for the hard-core sci-fi readers, I wouldn't ever classify it as one. My problem with the book is that the author tried too hard. If...more
Ashwini Sharma
Knowing Salman Rushdie for his flippant approach spiked with deep perspectives, that only grew in piquancy with each novel that came out of his flourishing pens, reviewing Grimus must have crafted in me a lens embellished with the knowledge of Salman Rushdie's trademark style drifting my scope away from a naked appraisal of Grimus as it must have been intended by the author way back in 1975. Regardless, it must be said that all the makings of trademark Rushdie can be felt enjoyably as one travel...more
After reading "The Tiger's Wife" and being recovering from that disappointment, I found great comfort reading "Grimus: A Novel" by Salman Rushdie.

I generally love Rushdie and this book enforced that conviction. It involves travel between dimensions, immortality, gorfs, and anagrams. It was fun to rearrange letters to determine that gorfs were like frogs and that there is a cool anagram for dimensions, milky way universe and earth. What anagram does GRIMUS represent?

This book revolves around im...more
Grimus is the first novel by Salman Rushdie and it has been described as a science fiction/fantasy novel. The main character is an Axona Indian, Flapping Eagle, who drinks an immortality elixir and, after living for 777 years, 7 months and 7 days, proceeds through some sort of dimension gateway to a strange place called Calf (Kâf) Island, inhabited by a community of bizarre immortals. Intent on regaining his mortality, he sets out to scale the mountainous peak, to find and destroy the source of...more
It should be pointed out that Flapping Eagle was averagely kind and good; but he would soon be responsible for a large number of deaths. He was also as sane as the next man, but then the next man was Mr Virgil Jones.

I could have sworn that I read this book back in the year dot when I first acquired it, but apparently not. I must have been thinking of another book altogether, as the plot was all completely new to me and not about a shepherd boy on a quest at all.

This is the story of Flapping Ea...more
Sep '09: i discovered a bunch of my What Do I Read Next? reviews from the mid-90s when i was on a serious SF-canon reading tear (and, apparently, averse to capital letters).

Plot Summary: the main character/narrator, an American Indian named Flapping-Eagle, and his sister are granted immortality (more accurately the lack of aging, since suicide and violent death are still possible); shortly thereafter, Flapping-Eagle and his sister part on unhappy terms and...more
Sep 22, 2007 Lisa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who think sci-fi is too fantastical, and magical realism isn't fantastical enough
This is Rushdie's first novel, and shares very little with his later work. It isn't Indian, it isn't India-multi-cultural, and it has little to do with Islam's place in the world, except perhaps on a very abstract level. It is about a young Native American man who becomes immortal, and eventually sets out to destroy immortality and...well, this is where it gets complicated. What, or who, is Grimus, and why does he need to be destroyed? It becomes clear that he isn't god, but he's the closest thi...more
Bryan Elkins
(Original review)
GRIMUS is one of the best books I've ever read. Thanks to Amanda for listening to me so well, enough to cause her to say "You HAVE to read Grimus, Bryan" cuz now I have and she was right. I will not review this visionary book, as mine does not qualify as a visionary mind and I would not take my stilted ego to the dangerous excesses that would be necessary to play at evaluating this book's worth. Its viewpoint synthesizes all maps of universe.

(Much later rereview)
I am going to re...more
Phew... I finished this book. At one point I didn't know if I was going to finish this the first chapter, let alone the book.

The first few pages were tough to slog through, changes in tense, point of view, and style, sometimes I felt mid-sentance, made this a hard thing to start. But, once I got into more normal, followable prose I rather enjoyed it.

It was a good mix of mythology and philosophy. Something to think about life and how one might look at their own life if it were one taht wouldn't e...more
Rushdie's first book has a bit of a reputation, and not a kind one -- reputedly even the author himself has come out critically against it.

That said, it's not necessarily a bad book; compared to the author's later works perhaps it is -- and it's certainly difficult seeing this book as the work of someone who'd go on to garner a awards, but taken on its own it can be quite enjoyable. There are flaws present, true, and many that could be attributed to the author's tehn status as first-time novelis...more
This is not your usual kind of Salman Rushdie book. There are magic potions, conjurers, big stone frogs, gates onto other worlds and a fair few nutcases. The main character, an American Indian granted immortality and now wanting to get his death back, is kind of boring. The people he meets, especially Virgil, are mildly more interesting, but the book only really gets going around the middle section, when our hero, Flapping Eagle, is in the town and involved with other people. When he's strugglin...more
After drinking a magic potion, an outcast Amerind becomes immortal. Eventually tired of his wandering, purposeless life, he searches for the man who gave him the potion and ran off with his adopted sister. He ends in another dimension ruled by Grimus, peopled entirely by immortals. An odd book indeed: Rushdie’s first novel is a bizarre, semi-mystical science fantasy. From this evidence, I wouldn’t predict that its author would go on to win the Booker Prize. It’s not bad --— there are a few unacc...more
I'm not usually a sci-fi/fantasy fan. This book might be a great read for someone who is. But as much as I tried to like it, I just found it too strange to really engage with. All the explanation that had to be done to justify the time-and-dimension-shifting that was happening got in the way of my ability to connect with any of the characters or become invested in what happened to them. I found myself sighing out loud whenever I reached the beginning of a long paragraph: Oh, great, here we go, m...more
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Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a novelist and essayist. Much of his early fiction is set at least partly on the Indian subcontinent. His style is often classified as magical realism, while a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world.

His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, led to protests from Muslims in several coun...more
More about Salman Rushdie...
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“Unfortunately life has a way of sidetracking one’s greatest ambitions. Painters, would-be artists, end up whitewashing walls. Sculptors are forced to design toilets. Writers become critics or publicists. Archaeologists, like myself, can become gravediggers.” 0 likes
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