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Grimus by Salman Rushdie
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Grimus (1975)

by Salman Rushdie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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676714,150 (3.31)44
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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 was my first Rushdie book and in retrospect was probably a strange book to chose as my first Rushdie book. What a wacky book! The book was like nothing I’ve every read before but I really enjoyed it for reasons I can’t quite describe. I’m sure many people who read this book will hate it because at times it seems nonsensical. There are flaws in the book (I think he tries to pack too much in the book to the point that the story line becomes convoluted at times), but interspersed with the moments of nonsense there were some real gems. Rushdie raises some interesting questions in this book about human nature, spirituality, and cultural isolation. I enjoyed thinking about the issues he raised and loved seeing the parallels with other works of literature. In many ways, the book structure parallels Dante’s Divine Comedy. There are three parts, a guide called Virgil, and parallels between the travels through various circles to reach “Heaven.” I decided to re-read the Divine Comedy while reading this book and it made the reading experience much more meaningful. I am less knowledgeable about the other religious/spiritual material he draws from so I think I missed out on a lot of the other references that were made in this book.
( )
  JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
Grimus Salman Rushdie
★★★★
On the surface this is a story about Flapping Eagle and his quest to find his "sister" Bird Dog. Bird Dog has been given 2 potions of immortality by the mysterious Sipsy one is for her and one is for Flapping Eagle, Bird Dog drinks hers straightaway and when Flapping Eagle refuses to follow suit she runs away to join Sipsy.
Years later Flapping Eagle decides to drink the potion and to find his sister which takes him several hundred years and at least one dimension before he does so only to find her changed almost beyond recognition.
So the surface is sort of an adventure story with a quest which means challenges to be conquered and mysteries to be solved.
Underneath the surface the story questions what it means to be human and how immortality considered by many to be the greatest gift possible can actual stop you being human and end as a curse
For those who like magical realism or surreal writing I would recommend this ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
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 [b:Shame|4831|Shame|Salman Rushdie|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348893969s/4831.jpg|855015] with the wonderfully drawn character of the Virgin Ironpants (Benazir Bhutto). Now that book would make anyone want to explore more Rushdie.

Recommended to writers: knowing that Rushdie won the Booker of Bookers for his magnificent book [b:Midnight's Children|14836|Midnight's Children|Salman Rushdie|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1166661748s/14836.jpg|1024288] should give you hope that even if your first book flops (because it is crap) there is still hope, you can still aim for the top and know that it's possible to reach there.

Read back '96ish, reviewed Nov 2012, edited February 2013. Why does this awful book stick in my head? ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
It should be pointed out that Flapping Eagle was averagely kind and good; but he would soon be responsible for a large number of deaths. He was also as sane as the next man, but then the next man was Mr Virgil Jones.

I could have sworn that I read this book back in the year dot when I first acquired it, but apparently not. I must have been thinking of another book altogether, as the plot was all completely new to me and not about a shepherd boy on a quest at all.

This is the story of Flapping Eagle's quest for mortality. Hundreds of years after drinking a liquid that made him immortal, he is bored with life and wants to start ageing again, so he starts looking for the mysterious peddler who gave him the bottle before leaving with his sister. An old acquaintance directs him to an island where immortals go to live when they are tired of living in the ever-changing world of mortal men, but he finds a place of stagnation and fear whose inhabitants live in the past as much as possible.

An interesting story, but for some reason it didn't really appeal, so I'm only giving it three stars. ( )
  isabelx | Mar 16, 2011 |
I'm always fascinated with first novels: how the author tries so hard to make an impression; the youthful indiscretions; the eccentricities; the fabulous plots. Rushdie's first has all of these and more. It has a story that cannot be summarised easily without recourse to trite and inaccurate cliches, and it is one of the most inventive pieces I've ever seen. I can't wait to read more. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | May 27, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Salman Rushdieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goodfellow, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Go, go, go, said the bird; human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
(T. S. ELIOT)

Come, you lost atoms, to your Centre draw,
And be the Eternal Mirror that you saw:
Rays that have wandered into darkness wide
Return, and back into your sun subside.
(FARID-UD-DIN 'ATTAR,
iThe Conference of the Birds, trans. Fitzgerald)

Crow straggled, limply bedraggled his remnant.
He was his own leftover, the spat-out scrag.
He was what his brain could make nothing of.
(TED HUGHES,
Crow's Playmate)

The sands of Time are steeped in new<>Beginnings.
(IGNATIUS Q. GRIBB,
The All-Purpose Quotable Philosopht)
Dedication
For Clarissa
First words
Mr Virgil Jones, a man devoid of friends and with a tongue rather too large for his mouth, was fond of descending this cliff-path on Tiusday mornings.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812969995, Paperback)

“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 sameness of life, he journeys to the mountainous Calf Island to regain his mortality. There he meets other immortals obsessed with their own stasis and sets out to scale the island’s peak, from which the mysterious and corrosive Grimus Effect emits. Through a series of thrilling quests and encounters, Flapping Eagle comes face-to-face with the island’s creator and unwinds the mysteries of his own humanity. Salman Rushdie’s celebrated debut novel remains as powerful and as haunting as when it was first published more than thirty years ago.

“A book to be read twice . . . [Grimus] is literate, it is fun, it is meaningful, and perhaps most important, it pushes the boundaries of the form outward.”
Los Angeles Times

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:03 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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 sameness of life, he journeys to the mountainous Calf Island to regain his mortality. There he meets other immortals obsessed with their own stasis and sets out to scale the island's peak, from which the mysterious and corrosive Grimus Effect emits. Through a series of thrilling quests and encounters, Flapping Eagle comes face-to-face with the island's creator and unwinds the mysteries of his own humanity. Salman Rushdie's celebrated debut novel remains as powerful and as haunting as when it was first published more than thirty years ago." -- back cover.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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