Criticalmick's Reviews > Fury
by Salman Rushdie
If time does not allow you to read Salman Rushdie's 2001 novel, Fury, just watch Edward Norton's five-minute bathroom mirror rant from Spike Lee's 25th Hour.
Rushdie pads his own diatribe of everything he hates about New York and America with reflections on creativity and destruction, repression and Cambridge, pop culture, classics, race, sex and Disney's Robin Hood, web design, Units, and plenty of dolls and puppet kings.
Potted plot: well-to-do middle-aged guy, tired of his wife, legs it over to New York and mumbles all sorts of profanities loud enough to get booted out of all-night diners. In kinky ways he shags a couple of twenty-something chicks whose names rhyme, after which he feels much better.
Amidst all the rationalization and wacky revelations, Fury contains some less-than-favorable comments about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is never wise.
In its favor: Rushdie may be a lofty uberintellect who refuses to condescend to interaction with quirky American book nerds, but he is not above writing well about the baser human instincts. Fury contains a spot-on analysis of the different attitudes and practices toward oral sex in Britain and the US. Bill Clinton agrees!
Fave bit: Rushdie's descriptions of a hottie that literally stops traffic.
Crime fic fans can read Rushdie's book as a psychological thriller: is Professor Malik Solanka, during his blackouts, the "Concrete Killer" who has murdered three beautiful, privileged socialites? That thread of the novel plays out very slowly as Rushdie indulges in shock-value asides about necrophilia and incest. His mystery would have been improved by a giant crime-fighting giraffe. (I am not making this up. Fury would have been groundbreaking if there was a swift, silent detective who could peek over walls and hedges, spying in through the windows of upper-story flats. The public yearns to see a bite taken outta the inaccessible top bough of the Big Apple tree.)
This is being unfair to an ambitious and innovative novel, but Fury has no kindness for anyone.
Critical Mick says: Interesting if abrasive and slow-moving, Fury is the first Salman Rushdie novel that Critical Mick read and judged for himself. At points it feels like Chuck Palahniuk lite, American Psycho lite, F. Scott Fitzgerald lite. The dialog is weak and there is a lot of opinion being sold as revelatory truth. The pacing is random. In other points Fury engages and transports. If nothing else it is convincing portrait of New York immediately before September 11.