Anastasia's Reviews > Fury

Fury by Salman Rushdie
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Dec 15, 2010

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** spoiler alert ** Fury is considered by some to be Rushdie's American novel. I think the reason why readers (first time Rushdie readers) say that they adore this book relates to the incessant passing observations at the beginning of the narrative, which make this novel, one of Rushdie's shortest, easier to read. In a nutshell, this story is about millionaire (yes, a realistic character - hardly) doll maker Malik Solanka jetting off to New York to escape his mental breakdown and to avoid the fury that sees him experience memory fugue states, one of which acts as the catalyst that sends him packing; he finds himself standing of his wife with a knife in hand. But what precedes this breakdown is his creation, Little Brain. A doll that becomes a bona fide personality and global phenomenon (a la Wiggles). When Little Brain eclipses his identity, or when his identity/celebrity cannot be separated from Little Brain, Solanka loses it. This is the foundation of the story. How Solanka wrestles with his current demons and how the doll relates to his childhood sexual abuse, which comes much later.
Halfway through this novel though, one can see the ridiculous plot line, which some defend as 'fabulism'. I saw the Gulliver's Travels references (to Lilliput and Blefescu) as feeble attempts for substance. It is as though a deadline was in place and Rushide desperately filled it.
The positives for me, as always, related to Rushdie's mastery of dialogue and vocabulary, and his ability to polarise people: journalists, politicians and readers. Very few writers capture dialogue as he does. However, the characters within Fury are not characters that a reader, especially a non millionaire, can readily sympathise with. The other positive I suppose, is seeing the flawed perception the author has about relationships. The portrayals are unrealistic. It's not suprise that Rushdie has divorced multiple times, and I still think he just doesn't get relationships with substance, because he always goes for the superficial, and that is what his relationships are in this book. Superficial.
For me, even Grendel (Beowulf) is more sympathetic than Malik Solanka and his model 'babe'/journalist girlfriend (that I think Rushdie modelled on his then wife, Padma Lakshimi). By the end of the novel, I didn't care what happened to Solanka. He loses his wife and child to another man and life goes on.
Fury tries too hard to be an 'American novel' and I don't see the reason why authors like Rushdie play into the hype of 'New York validation.' Rushdie didn't need to write a book set in New York in order to validate himself as a New American.


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