Liza's Reviews > The Ground Beneath Her Feet

The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie
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's review
Aug 31, 2009

really liked it
Read in January, 2010

Yet another wonderful feast for thought from Salman Rushdie. "Ground beneath her feet" is a long and lingering trip through the lives of 3 people, through their respective journeys of self discovery and personal tragedy.

To me, this book is more than just a love story, it is a thesis on how in modern day (largely) godless world, we take the cult celebrity figures and turn them into the pagan gods of old. Not the perfect beings far off in the sky, but the angry, nymphomaniac, jealous, obstinate gods of the Greek and Indian pantheons. They are gods, but also men and women, their divinity magnifying all that is human about them to gargantuan proportions.

In this case, the object of celebration and obsession is Vina Aspara. A thoroughly vapid and selfish woman by all accounts, yet one that inspires such deep and unquestioning devotion that all that come across her wish for nothing more than to worship the ground beneath her feet.

Greek mythology runs rampant throughout the book. Ormus is Jason, while Vina his Argo, sailing the stormy seas of rock and roll with "Cholchis Records", getting thoroughly fleeced in the process. Rai is the lowly Pan, an artist in his own way, but forever lost in Apollo's shadow. Ormus and Vina are dualities of Apollo/Orpheus and Persephone/Euridice. Except that Vina takes the Euridice myth and turns it upside down. Instead of being rescued from the underworld by her lover, she rescues him from life and takes him with her back to the underworld.

The imagery of twins (Castor and Pollux, one human - other divine) make constant appearances. Ormus and Gayomart, Virus and Cyrus, Vina and Mira. Even the universe itself has a twin, the mysterious otherworld, mirroring the twin-set of realities that exist inside and outside the pages of the book. The biggest surprise is that love is presented as the mirror twin of death. Where neither one can be separated from the other.

The storyline is a bit wavering, turning from the mundane to the fantastic at a drop of a hat. The plot line itself is almost non-existent, as the point of the book seems to be less about telling a coherent story, than about the authors endless monologues on the nature of anything from photography to architecture to love. Having said that, the writing itself is nothing short of superb. The characters are so intensely real, they practically leap out of the page.

To sum up, this book is a sublime whirlwind, that tosses you from side to side, leaves you completely confused yet profoundly altered. It left me breathless.
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