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Fury by Salman Rushdie

Fury (original 2001; edition 2008)

by Salman Rushdie

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,079263,188 (3.3)68
Authors:Salman Rushdie
Info:Vintage Digital (2008), Edition: New edition, Kindle Edition, 280 pages
Tags:fiction, New York, 2000s, professor-as-victim, satire, Indian diaspora

Work details

Fury by Salman Rushdie (2001)

  1. 00
    Herzog by Saul Bellow (thorold)
    thorold: Rushdie's Fury is an ironic 21st century take on the professor-as-victim theme, with a whole string of references back to Herzog.

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English (23)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Fury? A better title might be Impotence, Poor Decision Making or Whiny Discontent, and the old author has a beautiful women chasing him. Uggggggh. Only a few stylistic twists save this one from one star. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
A revamp of the tired old formula of the professor-as-victim novel, a Herzog for the 21st century, but with a very Rushdie twist to it. Definitely not one of his major works, but an entertaining read, cleverly pitched just a tiny bit beyond the conventions of realism. There is some lively satire of the shallowness of early 21st century values and some splendidly overdone running jokes. Rushdie is well aware of the old rule that showing a man slipping on a banana-skin or stepping on a rake gets funnier the more often it is repeated. In this case, we have the absurdly beautiful woman who makes men trip over their feet or walk into street furniture whenever she goes out in public: Rushdie doesn't just use this as a throwaway observation of another character, but actually shows her doing it every time she appears, even in the big, serious confrontation scene in the penultimate chapter.

There are plenty of references to Bellow's classic (which struck me because I coincidentally read Herzog a few days ago), not least in the names — a Malik is a king and a Herzog is a duke, and it can't be coincidence that one is Moses and the other "Solly". Herzog and Fury are also the only novels in which I can recall coming across the Yiddish word "landsman". Whilst both Bellow and Rushdie start out with a professor who has run away from his wife and child, Rushdie inevitably takes the story — and the resulting balance of power between the sexes — in a completely different direction from Bellow's conventional 1960s approach. ( )
  thorold | Nov 25, 2012 |
Fury is Salman Rushdie’s 8th novel. Professor Malik Solanka, historian and doll-maker, is living in New York, alone, voluntarily celibate, angry and afraid. He has left behind in England, Eleanor, his wife of fifteen years and his beloved young son Asmaan. He fled when he found himself standing over their sleeping forms with a knife. There’s a fury in him and he fears he’s become dangerous to those he loves. He’s the creator of a doll, Little Brain, of which, when it became a phenomenon, he lost control: it now stands for everything he despises. We follow Solanka’s tale as he tries to overcome his fury by losing himself in America at a time of unprecedented plenty. We learn some of his own backstory and watch his encounters with a young woman in a baseball cap, his acquaintances in New York and then a woman with whom he falls in love. This novel contains some self-deprecating seemingly semi-autobiographical snippets of Rushdie. There is some lovely prose worthy of this author, but much of the novel is Malik’s stream of consciousness which is sometimes amusing or interesting, but is sometimes rather tedious. I enjoyed the backstory of the Puppet Kings and the way it blended into the real world. Not Rushdie’s best work and certainly not my favourite. ( )
  CloggieDownunder | Mar 16, 2012 |
Malik Solanka, the protagonist, is a philosophy professor and a doll maker of fame, who on day discovers himself standing over his wife and son’s bed with a knife. The next day he migrates to America to sort his anger issues. Here he comes in contact with Mila and Neela who help him to sort out his anger issues. In the end Malik is deserted by all the women in his life when he is a better person.

The story has a sub-plot where Malik creates a whole set of cyborg dolls and their background stories which is a s good as any science fiction I have ever read.

Mr. Rushdie is a brilliant author whose stories have a mystical touch to them. They have real life and fantasy in a very complex mix.

[Fury] is based in New York for most of the parts. Apparently Mr.Rushdie did not like America much and has bashed it a lot. Some excerpts

“..new hi-how-you-doin’, up-front, in-your face, MASTECTOMY BRA environment: this new cultural hypersensitivity, this almost pathological fear of giving offense.”
“A city of half-truths and echoes that somehow dominates the earth.”
“America’s need to make things American, to own them, thought Solanka, was the mark of an odd insecurity. Also, of course, and more prosaically, capitalist.”
“America was civilization’s quest to end in obesity and trivia, at Roy Rogers and Planet Hollywood, in USA Today and on E!; or in million-dollar-game-show greed or fly-on-the-wall voyeurism..” ( )
1 vote mausergem | Mar 1, 2011 |
I always hesitate to pick up a Rushdie as my next read. I have trouble settling in to his language and conventions, having to reread until I can catch his rhythm. This is the first Rushdie (besides Haroun and the Sea of Stories, but that's more elementary) that I could read without turning the pages backward.

Malik Solanka is inventor of a modern-day Dora the Explorer who's been turned Bratz by commercialism. Fearing the rage that burns inside him, he leaves his London life and attempts to disappear into the unbranded rush of New York City only to find his internal furor replaced by a much larger external one.

I couldn't help thinking of Heart of Darkness and the twisted trip down the Congo, with its Apocalypse Now Marlon Brando looming at the end. As the story escalates, so do Solanka's shadowy strangers-come-friends (accomplices?) and bizarro never-never-land of Fury. ( )
  librarianshannon | Feb 25, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Set mostly in New York Fury is perhaps the fruit of Rushdie’s move to the US after the restrictions necessitated by the fatwā made life in the UK less than congenial for him.

It is not a vintage work, no Midnight’s Children nor Shame. Too much is told, not shown. It also begins inauspiciously; with a very Dan Brownesque first sentence, “Professor Malik Solanka, retired historian of ideas, irascible dollmaker, and since his fifty-fifth birthday celibate and solitary by his own (much criticised) choice, in his silvered years found himself living in a golden age.”

Now, it could be said that Rushdie is playing with the reader, essaying a fable, but, really, three of those crudely dumped slivers of information are examples of newspaper prose and the knowledge they bring us ought to have emerged more organically during the course of the novel.

The novel deals with Solanka’s life after leaving his second wife. He was so full of fury he had almost killed her and their young son and he fled to New York to escape that horror becoming reality. He was also the creator of a TV series in which a doll called Little Brain hosted a kind of chat show where various historical and philosophical figures were interviewed. It became a cult hit, was taken up further, spawning the usual commercial opportunities attendant on success, but in the process was dumbed down. The doll masks which are one of the manifestations of the show’s popularity later become a plot point.

Rushdie’s usual scatter shot referencing is present, not only to the Erinyes (Furies) of Greek myth - along with allusions to more popular culture - but also copious descriptions of SF stories (eg The Nine Billon Names of God) and films (Solaris, even - heaven help us - Star Wars.) The three Furies have their counterparts in the three women whom Solanka is involved with in the course of the book.

There is a sub-plot involving a republic known as Lilliput-Blefescu (where the doll masks take on a political significance) and which allows Rushdie ample scope for Swiftian allusions.

As a novel, Fury is too tied up in itself. Rushdie is riffing on his concerns but here his orotund, fabular style is distracting, the characters are not as rounded as in his earlier works and the plot not as engaging.
added by jackdeighton | editA Son Of The Rock, Jack Deighton

» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Salman Rushdieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Konings, GérardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santen, Karina vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterre, Jan Pieter van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vaccaro, NickPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vermeulen, RikCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vosmaer, MartineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Professor Malik Solanka, retired historian of ideas, irascible dollmaker, and since his recent fifty-fifth brithday celibate and solitary by his own (much criticized) choice, in his silvered years found himself living in a golden age.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679783504, Paperback)

Fury is a gloss on fin-de-siècle angst from the master of the quintuple entendre. Salman Rushdie hauls his hero, Malik Solanka, from Bombay to London to New York, and finally to a fictional Third World country, all in order to show off a preternatural ability to riff on anything from Bollywood musicals to revolutionary politics. Professor Solanka is propelled on this path by his strange love of dolls. He plays with them as a child; as an adult he quits his post at Cambridge in order to produce a TV show wherein an animated doll, Little Brain, meets the great thinkers of history. Little Brain becomes a smash hit, and perhaps inevitably, Solanka finds himself in America. (It's not only the show-biz version of manifest destiny that brings him to the New World: one night in London he finds himself standing over the sleeping figures of his beloved wife and child, frighteningly close to stabbing them. This intellectual puppeteer is, of course, fleeing himself.)

Now, in New York, he is filled with wrath. Solanka is far from being an Everyman, but his fury is a kind of Everyfury. It's road rage writ large--the natural reaction to an excess of mental traffic. There are several books running simultaneously here: a mystery, a family romance, a bitingly satirical portrait of millennial Manhattan, and a sci-fi revolutionary fantasy. A single fragment gives a sense of Rushdie's reflexive multiplicity: when Solanka finally faces his memories of childhood, he recalls "his damn Yoknapatawpha, his accursed Malgudi." Here's a writer who, leading us into the tender places of his protagonist's soul, stops long enough to reference not just Faulkner but Narayan as well. If it sounds like a bit of a mess, it is. If it sounds frighteningly intelligent, it's that too. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:19 -0400)

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Malik Solanka, a middle-aged ex-philosophy professor and millionaire creator of a hugely popular doll, seeks refuge from his unwanted fame and disintegrating marriage in New York City.

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