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Grimus

3.4  ·  Rating details ·  2,638 Ratings  ·  173 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
...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
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Michael Finocchiaro
The first book from Rushdie is a magical voyage that successfully merges the magical realism of Marquez with Rushdie's own distillation of Indian mythology and tradition. It was a valiant first effort and is an exhilarating read. I think one should jump right into Midnight's Children, but if its length is too imposing, you could try Grimus or Shame to get your feet wet.
Bokeshi
The most remarkable thing about Grimus? Revelation that the great Salman Rushdie isn't good enough a writer to write SF.

Such lush prose, such splendid imagination, and such a wasted opportunity. "Incoherent" would be putting it mildly. "Garbled gibberish" would perhaps be somewhat more accurate description. The beginning of the story was intriguing (albeit bizarre), but pretty soon things started to seem more like someone's bad LSD trip, and then it got progressively worse. The "plot" was all o
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Lena Lang
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chaitra
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
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Jen
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001, 1001-challenge
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.

This
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Robert
Jan 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although Rushdie disowns his first novel, it is not that bad. In fact I see it a sort of potential for what was to follow in later novels. Saying that Grimus does have a lot of flaws.
The story focuses on Flapping Eagle, who drinks an elixir which gives him eternal life, given to him by his sister, who deserts him. After 777 years he wants mortality and to find his sister, eventually ending up on the metaphysical Calf Island. After meeting a bizarre cast of characters, while embarking on his two
...more
Maria
Jun 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Agnieszka
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Josie Shagwert
Apr 20, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Nicola
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
What an incredible book for a first work! It may be trifle immature and a little puerile in parts but the vivid imagination behind it causes it to blaze out of the pages in glorious Technicolor.

I've always loved mythology and Grimus has its roots in this grand old tradition. Add in some mystery, a dash of scientific magic and human interest and shake it all together for a book that caught my interest from the start and never let it go. If this is what Salman Rushdie manages to write straight out
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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
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Kristel
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
Ann
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Christine
Aug 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Bradley Smith
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Raj
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was Rushdie's first novel and it's very much a journeyman work. He does use the magical realism vehicle that he uses much better effect in later novels (such as the excellent Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses). It's difficult to identify themes that that he would come back to so it's best to just look at this as it comes.

Flapping Eagle takes the elixir of immortal life, after his sister is first given it and spends the next several hundred years wandering the world, after her dis
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Maisarah
I typically take delight in non-sensical reads. Magical realism (when done right) can unlock the surprisingly deep dimensions of the mind - things that you've never thought of, corners you've never explored and interpretations you've never considered.

With Grimus, however, I do think that the thread of fantasy has been stretched out too far that its impact has been reduced. It started out promising, but somehow got lost and turned rather messy in the middle (which made it quite a difficult read
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Adam Sidsworth
This is Rushdie's first book, and it's a fine debut, although at times I found it a bit confusing. It's a short but dense novel, so don't rush through it. It tells the story of Flapping Eagle, who at over 700 years of age, received the gift of immortality from his sister, who promptly disappears. Flapping Eagle goes on a quest to find her, discovering that she may have fled to Calf Island, a mystical place guarded by the mysterious Grimus.

I won't give away anymore, but the text is dense and a t
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Chili
May 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
First off, this book contains rape, incest, murder and suicide, so if you're sensitive to that, don't read this book.
I can appreciate the idea and concept behind the story, but everything about it was just... confusing? Everything made mostly sense in the end, but it's not enjoyable reading a book where you constantly have no idea what is going on. I didn't really root for Flapping Eagle and wasn't interested in the characters at all.
This was my first time reading Salman Rushdie and I've heard
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Lena Lenina
This is Rushdie in the rough. You can see the seeds of his unique style, which will come out in its full glory in his later book. Grismus writing is still a little awkward, the fairy-tale aspect a little more trippy than in his later books. Rushdie wrote this book as an entry to a science-fiction competition, and it feels like the fantasy element is a little forced. Later he will learn how to strum this confidently, but in Grimus... left me nauseous at times. Love Rushdie, but this is not his be ...more
Riddhiman
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Rushdie's first novel. The writing style is quite different from his other more well known novels. It is on the lines of what I prefer to term as 'collage writing'. He would eventually switch to a more lucid style from Midnight's Children onward. However, I quite enjoyed reading this. In fact this is the first ever Rushdie I read!
Shailesh Dhume
The book was a huge disappointment. Rushdie shows glimpses of his lyrical prose but that is just about it. Asinine story, drab characters and Rushdie's imagination run amok. Though it was his first book , not a good book at all to get introduced to his work.
Jeruen
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I guess everyone has to start somewhere, right?

While I have read several other novels by Salman Rushdie, which I loved, this one, which is his first published novel, just doesn't seem to make the cut. I have to say that this novel didn't give the best reading experience for me, knowing what his other books were like. It's not my most favorite Rushdie novel, and therefore if this book were the first novel of his I have read, I probably would not have read another Rushdie book. Hence, I am glad t
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Sujin Stone
Audio book.
Chris Holt
I'm a huge fan of Rushdie, but this did nothing for me. The bit about being willing to try anything twice is about all I even remember.
Andy Morgan
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Rushdie's more difficult works, it proposes a number of questions - what is time? What is the nature of happiness? - without ever providing satisfactory answers.
Tara J.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
too weird, absolutely no frame of reference.
NikolayM
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Your words serve only to spin cocoons around your own irrelevance.' ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: Grimus by Salman Rushdie 3 23 Mar 16, 2015 05:38AM  
Thoughts about it!! 1 3 Feb 05, 2015 06:42AM  
Grimus by Salman Rushdie 2 16 Jan 16, 2013 08:44AM  
point of view 1 7 Nov 27, 2012 12:37PM  
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6,392 followers
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
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“man is sane only to the extent that he subscribes to a previously-agreed construction of reality.” 2 likes
“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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