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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Equipped with a virtual sixth sense of observation, a beyond-this-world command of language, and an uncanny ability to zero in on contemporary culture and chronicle all its frivolity and majesty, Salman Rushdie is among our greatest living writers. He is also one of our most prodigious.
Fury, his eighth novel, is a ferocious comedy that combines the writer's masterful storytelling with a commentary on 21st-century American society that packs a rabid pit bull's bite. It is, in a word, brilliant.
Fifty-five-year-old Malik Solanka is having a Dantesque midlife crisis. A former philosophy professor and creator of a popular doll known as "Little Brain," Malik is perched on a crag that overlooks an abyss of violence. He is very close to jumping in. Living in self-imposed exile in Manhattan during the summer of 2000, he has just left his second wife in London after finding himself consumed by thoughts of murder: "actual murder, not the metaphorical kind. He'd even brought a carving knife upstairs and stood for a terrible, dumb minute over the body of his sleeping wife." Like Orestes in the Greek tragedy cycle The Oresteia, Malik is being pursued by furies of his own making, riddled with a deep guilt that goes beyond his fleeting thoughts of bumping off his wife. As he traverses the infernal streets of New York in search of redemption and understanding, he is bombarded by streams of erratic and obscenely comedic stimuli -- cell phones, loud talkers, 24-hour coverage of Elián González, Rudy Giuliani, The Sopranos, designer clothes, fast food experiences that would lead a lab rat to commit suicide. For everyone else in New York, it's just an average day.
Fusing the transience of modern life with the philosophical truths of antiquity, Rushdie elevates American pop culture to the realm of myth -- but it is a myth as saccharine and diaphanous as cotton candy, a myth so capricious that no one can truly find comfort in its allegory. Caustic, intelligent, and sometimes "How the hell did he think of that?" hilarious, Fury is more than just our first great satire of the 21st century, it is a minor masterpiece. (Stephen Bloom)